An effort to develop a universal health program in California may be picking up steam as officials count votes.[@@]
With 15% of precincts reporting, the state’s universal health ballot measure, Proposition 72, was losing 46% to 54%.
Now, with 97.3% of precincts reporting, support for the proposition now amounts to 49.3% of the votes counted, with 4.51 million of the votes counted favoring the proposition and 4.63 million opposing it. The gap stands at about 120,000 votes.
Former California Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, brought about the referendum in October 2003, by signing S.B. 2. The bill created a law that requires California to start setting up a universal health program. The program would require employers with at least 50 workers to provide health coverage for their employees or else contribute to a state-run health coverage system.
The law also could require employers with 20 to 49 employees to provide health coverage if California first adopts a 20% health coverage tax credit.