Prop. B is bad medicine

You wouldn't know Prop. B has anything to do with children's health care — because proponents don't want you to know the true costs

OPINION Proposition B on the November ballot would eviscerate health care for tens of thousands of public workers and their families. It would double the cost of children's health care for more than 30,000 public employees including teachers, nurses, firefighters, custodians, and gardeners — regardless of their ability to pay.

But you wouldn't know this is actually what Prop. B does because the recent focus has been on the measure's "reforms" to employee retirement. You wouldn't know this has anything to do with children's health care — because proponents don't want you to know the true costs of Prop. B.

What are those true costs?

A single mother will be forced to pay up to $5,600 per year for her child's health care — in addition to the $8,154 she already pays.

A custodian making only $40,000 per year would have to pay the same hike in health insurance premiums as the city's top brass, who could be making three times as much.

Talk about unintended consequences.

That's not reform, and it's not fair. The workers being blamed are the same city employees who this year voluntarily agreed to $250 million in wage concessions. These are the same workers who have willingly taken pay cuts totaling $750 million the last decade.

Proponents have framed Prop. B as an answer to the city's pension and retirement costs, but in reality, this measure is about health care. San Francisco's Office of the Controller's impartial analysis of Prop. B concludes that 70 percent of the savings from the measure would come from dramatically increasing the cost of dependent health care for working families.

A deep recession spurred by costly wars and reckless behavior on Wall Street has had devastating effects on our city and nation. Prop. B punishes city workers for this economic collapse by radically increasing the cost of their health care.

San Francisco has led the nation in providing universal access to health care. As author and founder of our HealthySF program, I encourage you to resist the attempt reverse progress on health care. Vote no on B.

Assembly Member Tom Ammiano represents the 13th District.


Where did Ammiano get his bloated figures?

Public-sector workers in SF now pay $0 for their own helathcare insurance.

We either make public-sector workers start paying for some of their own pension costs, or we keep cutting Park & Rec, keep cutting library hours, keep cutting roadwork, etc.

Posted by Barton on Sep. 28, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

For those of you who think cops make a lot of money you are wrong. I don't know where you get the dollar amounts you have but you are wrong. I lost my house as did many cops in the city. I already pay into retirement. I pay for health insurance. I no longer own a house. I drive a 1999 Honda and live paycheck to paycheck. I gave up raises. I have to take days off with no pay. What else do you want from us! Oh and yea the job is not easy. I knew what I was getting into but I do it cause I want to. My children know the risk and that there is a chance that one day I wouldn't come home. Don't try to fix the City's budget by blaming City employees and taking more and more away from us.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 03, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

I am a city employee with 3 children; 2 of which are in college, the third on his way next year, and a wife who is too sick to work. Hell, I had a heart attack and I had to go back to work less than a week after because I can't risk not going in. I work over 40 hours a week no overtime because we are so short staffed from the layoffs, I am forced to take days off with no pay, and my wages have been garnished multiple times in the past year. I am struggling to make ends meet, and I am trying to do my best with the little that I have. I am not against helping out the less fortunate, but at the moment, I am becoming one of them. The only reason I was not laid off was because of seniority and the fact that I am an incredibly hard worker.

After working for the city for over 23 years, I have not seen my income fall and the prices of necessities go up. I do not earn anywhere near this mysterious high median that you all speak about. I can barely keep my family afloat. A great deal of city employees have families. Single 27 year olds can survive well on $50k a year, but a family of 5 cannot. The more you take out of our wages, the harder it gets on us. We cannot afford this.

Posted by City Employee on Oct. 12, 2010 @ 8:39 pm

I didn't.

Why should I pay for your choices? Don't you feel ridiculous asking, begging, me to foot the bill for your choices?

Posted by matlock on Oct. 12, 2010 @ 10:28 pm

I was reading one of the Opposing arguments to Prop B and they claim that workers will have to pay out as much as 5,000 a year
for each dependent. (as much as) Many of us have been paying that out for years and years-on what the lowest paid city worker makes.
Until we get Universal Health care, I don't see why city workers should be any different. Our family switched to Healthy San Francisco because we couldn't afford $1,000 dollars + a month for health care--let the city workers wait in line at SF General for medication, I wouldn't mind the company.

Posted by louisa on Oct. 14, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

SF city workers and public sector workers are just being vilified and used as scapegoats.
Take a look at this Chronicle article, as a whole, the public sector pays less than the private sector, or just about par if you factor the better benefits in the public sector.

The problem is Wall St bankers and greedy companies who dumped us into this recession. And neither cutting people's healthcare or cutting public services, or forcing us into this lose-lose situation is the answer.

As for the whole, I don't have healthcare why should they---that's childish. or okay, it speaks to a real world situation of scarcity and economic insecurity, where we're all struggling to go forward and trampling each other. but if you wanted to treat it as a logical argument--then yeah a lot of people in the world don't have enough to eat. therefore all of should starve.

Try some of the revenue measures on the ballot. Like Prop N.
Or stepping back for the bigger picture about how the rich are getting richer, of course, and the ultra rich are getting ultra ultra richer. Lets deal with that.

"Between 2002 and 2007, for instance, the bottom ninety-nine per cent of incomes grew 1.3 per cent a year in real terms—while the incomes of the top one per cent grew ten per cent a year. That one per cent accounted for two-thirds of all income growth in those years. People in the ninety-fifth to the ninety-ninth percentiles of income have represented a fairly constant share of the national income for twenty-five years now. But in that period the top one per cent has seen its share of national income double; in 2007, it captured twenty-three per cent of the nation’s total income. Even within the top one per cent, income is getting more concentrated: the top 0.1 per cent of earners have seen their share of national income triple over the same period. All by themselves, they now earn as much as the bottom hundred and twenty million people. So at the same time that the rich have been pulling away from the middle class, the very rich have been pulling away from the pretty rich, and the very, very rich have been pulling away from the very rich.

The current debate over taxes takes none of this into account. At the moment, we have a system of tax brackets well suited to nineteenth-century New Zealand. Our system sets the top bracket at three hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars, with a tax rate of thirty-five per cent. (People in the second-highest bracket, starting at a hundred and seventy-two thousand dollars for individuals, pay thirty-three per cent.) This means that someone making two hundred thousand dollars a year and someone making two hundred million dollars a year pay at similar tax rates. LeBron James and LeBron James’s dentist: same difference."

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2010 @ 7:02 pm

SF employees are not being "vilified as used as scapegoats." That's just plain dumb. You and your fellow comrades can scream all you want about how you are being "attacked" but it does not change the math.

The cost of City employee benefis is $800 million and doubling over the next five years. These numbers come from the Controller's office so it's not a "Wall Street" conspiracy.

Prop B begins to answer the question as to how these costs will be paid. You may think it should come from cuts in City sevices (logical since most City employees don't live in the City and don't care) and fee and tax increases for residents. Some think the beneficiarys should contribute more- sounds logical to me...We shall see.

The alternative universe you live in is an interesting read though...

Posted by CJ FLowers on Oct. 19, 2010 @ 10:24 pm

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