Author: Adam

California’s Oil Industry Is Opposing Health Insurance Protections

California's Oil Industry Is Opposing Health Insurance Protections

Editorial: Oil drillers want to overturn California’s new health protections. Don’t let them.

California’s Senate passed a landmark bill Wednesday that will give residents in the Golden State a greater stake in their own health insurance plans. The bill, which would be the nation’s largest expansion of health insurance protections, was passed with a veto-proof majority. Governor Brown’s office says they plan to sign the bill into law, but the question remains: will the state’s oil companies take notice?

For months, proponents of state-by-state insurance protection for residents have fought against the implementation of such protections in California. They say that the state’s oil industry, which they claim will be left defenseless against a possible federal crackdown, is their biggest obstacle. In early January, a coalition of California’s largest oil companies sent out a letter to their employees, stating that the bill “is an example of how the current system stifles innovation and investment in California’s energy sector,” and that it, “will force us to cease or significantly curtail development at our Texas-size oil fields in the best interests of all Californians, not just those of us with big corporate interests at stake.”

While the oil companies have the attention of many California legislators, they have no influence on voters. After all, oil companies are not subject to California’s voter-approved Proposition 32, which requires that in an effort to protect consumers from rising health care costs, insurance coverage for children and adults in the state must be cost-free, without cost-shifting.

Opponents of the bill say that the oil industry is lobbying the bill’s opponents like never before. And indeed, there is no shortage of oil industry lobbyists in Sacramento working to derail the bill and bring about the demise of Proposition 32. This time, however, the opposition isn’t coming from a few industry-backed lawmakers. It’s being led by a bipartisan coalition of more than a dozen elected officials that includes Republican Senator Josh Newman, and Democratic Assemblyman Travis Allen.

“We have always been open to health care reform, but we always have to make sure we’re doing it in a way that is respectful for our workers,” Allen says.

With California’s oil-and-gas industry under threat of being completely overwhelmed by the passage of the

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