Sunday, August 4, 2013

Obamacare, AB 76, SB 71 -- government deception

Governor Brown's veto message for AB 76 is a  sublime essence of deception. Here is the actual  text: "I am returning Assembly Bill 76 without my signature. This bill is unnecessary as I am signing a similar measure, Senate Bill 71. A Constitutional Amendment has also been introduced that will preserve the existing Constitutional and statuatory requirements of the California Public Records Act. -- Sincerely, Edmund G. Brown, Jr.

Readers of this column already know that Brown signed SB 71 while vetoing AB 76. Our readers also know that SB 71 is a mirror image of AB 76. So Brown didn't veto anything. Instead, he has contrived to project an appearance of preserving access to public records with a huge cutback in the only significant benefit injured workers managed to wrangle out of last year's SB 863.

Both bills were run through the legislature at the same time, one in the Assembly, the other, in the Senate. When I spoke to one of the Senators who seemed well disposed to calling the Assembly bill, AB 76, into question no mention was made of the parallel bill on the Senate side, SB 71, lurking around the corner although both bills had the same anti-injured worker provision about return-to-work.

SB 71 pays lip service to the provision in SB 863 that appropriated $120,000,000 per year to pay for a return-to-work program for injured workers. The slap in the face to injured workers is the provision of SB 71 that was also included in AB 76: "the program applies only to injuries that occur on or after January 1, 2013."

When SB 863 was passed this $120,000,000 benefit was applied to all injured workers, not just  injured workers whose injuries occurred on or after January 1, 2013.  It was a key reason why this otherwise hostile bill to injured workers got support from the California Labor Federation which collaborared  with big business (Grimmway Farms) to get it passed. 

Although it is unlikely that this sophisticated a plan was entirely worked out in advance, it has turned out to be stunningly successful for Big Business.

As for Obamacare, we'll next discuss how the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) will be empowered to work first to limit the franchise to the elderly and then to restrict access to care to all participants while Congress and possibly even IRS fight to remain exempt from its alleged protections.

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