A coalition of labor unions, physicians and consumer groups in California kicked off a multimillion-dollar campaign to save the state's mandatory insurance law, which businesses are pushing to repeal through a Nov. 2 ballot referendum. The law, signed by former Gov. Gray Davis two days before his recall in October 2003, is designed to expand health insurance to roughly 1 million of the state's 6.3 million uninsured by requiring businesses with 50 or more employees to buy coverage for workers and their families or pay into a state insurance fund. Proponents of the law, known as SB 2, plan to focus on its less publicized provisions, which ban employers from dropping current health insurance plans and limit workers' share of premiums to 20%. Business groups, which argue the law will kill jobs, plan to launch their own multimillion-dollar anti-SB 2 campaign this summer. If the law survives the referendum, California would be the only state other than Hawaii to mandate employer-provided insurance. -- by Laura B. Benko
Calif. groups push to save mandatory insurance law
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