NYC Health Care Security Act passes - Again
In a second rebuke of the mayor's position on requiring businesses to pay for health coverage for workers, the New York city council again overrode a mayoral veto on amendments to the Health Care Security Act (HCSA) this week.
The bill requires large grocery stores to cover some of the cost of their employees health care expenditures. The new law would provide and secure health benefits for more than ten thousand workers in the grocery industry. First past in August of last year, the bill went through a series of amendments late in the year to strengthen the legislation and win over remaining opposition. For the second time, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the bill's sponsor, successfully organized the council override.
The grocery industry is challenging similar legislation in the state of Maryland and in Suffolk County. Here in NYC, a recent state supreme court decision which essentially said that the mayor can simply choose not to enforce laws that he doesn't like, puts the enactment and enforcement of HCSA at risk. But these challenges are not a deterrent for the "fair share" movement that is growing across the country. At the heart of the effort is a call for employer responsibility and an attempt to stem the growing health care crisis.
As state and local legislative bodies confirm and reconfirm their commitment to this policy model it signals a willingness on the part of lawmakers to reach for sound and creative solutions to these problems in spite of executive opposition. It's this kind of courageous leadership that is desperately needed by working people as they experience the erosion of their quality of life with fewer and fewer protections.