TR Robertson….On Thursday, around 30 civic, political and business leaders crowded into the Vista Chamber meeting room for a monthly Government Affairs Committee meeting that features presentations from various agencies in the county and updates from different political groups on legislation and concerns that affect the citizens of Vista.
The meeting was called to order by Committee Chairperson Amber Ter-Vrugt. She introduced the featured speaker, Terri Yurek, representing Southern California Direct and Terri Yurek Insurance Services, Inc.
Ms. Yurek gave a presentation to the state of affairs surrounding HealthCare Politics as it relates to all Californians and United States Citizens. She detailed the current healthcare coverages and ones being proposed as presented by the Affordable Care Act (aka – Obamacare), the Universal Health Care program, Bernie Sanders Medicare for all and Donald Trump’s repeal of Obamacare and instituting a 7 point plan. The presentation centered on what the state of health care will look like in the future and the massive changes that are going on.
By 2017, the six largest health care systems will consolidate into three, Centene & Health Net, Aetna and Humana, and Anthem and Cigna. This, coupled with the speculated shortage of physicians, will have a major impact on the coverage available to all citizens. By 2025, there will be a shortage of 90,000 physicians, including a critical need for specialists and the majority of doctors will no longer be able to practice medicine on their own.
Ms. Yurek detailed an abundance of reasons why this gloomy picture is presenting itself. There are no easy answers to help this problem but it was pointed out that staying educated about the changes, contacting local representatives who vote on legislation concerning insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, health care issues, is important as the number of seniors grows and the laws concerning healthcare change.
Next on the agenda was a series of short presentations by representatives from different political groups. 76th Assembly District Assemblyman, Rocky Chavez was present, as the California Senate and Assembly are on summer break. He gave a quick update on several bills being considered – AB 1936 dealing with post-secondary education residency and dependent veteran’s assistance; AB 2723 dealing with small business expenses and AB 2574 dealing with veterans applying for state benefits for farming. Mr. Chavez also spoke about the health care issues and referred to various meetings beginning in August to December on a number of topics. He, personally, will be on committees dealing with education, veterans and energy issues. It was also noted that on the November ballot, as voters head to the polls, 17 ballot initiatives will also be on the ballot as well as all of the candidates you will be voting on.
Representatives from Senator Bates’ Office reported on Senate bill status such as the police services contracts. It was also reported that North County Lifeline was recently honored for their work in the community and Prohibition Brewery was recently honored for a small business award. The representative from Assemblywoman Waldron’s Office reported that the California State budget has passed but there are lots of questions still remaining. He also spoke about AB 59 that would extend mental health coverage, known as Laura’s Law, for 5 more years and AB 1754 that would offer counseling services for elderly crime victims.
Tony Winney, representing the City of Vista spoke about the Governor’s Buy Right Housing program, Vista’s water regulations being rescinded, the alterations of the controversial Paseo Santa Fe Sign, the City of Vista receiving a Double A rating which will help with any upcoming loan applications if needed and the Economic committee’s touring of vacant restaurants in the city to try to encourage other businesses to move their business to Vista. Mr. Winney also said the City Council will be dark until the second week of August.
A final presentation was from a representative from San Diego concerning overtime pay exemptions and the upcoming increase in California minimum wage. The first minimum pay raises will begin on January 1, 2017 for businesses of 26 or more employees and on January 1, 2018 for businesses who employ 25 or fewer employees. The overtime regulations begin December 1. 2016.
The Government Affairs Committee meeting ended with three announcements about upcoming charity events the public can support. On August 8th, at Shadowridge Country Club, the Harlan Dunn Chamber Golf Tournament will be held and soon the 27th Annual Vista Rod Run will be held. Both of these events will raise funds for the Vista Teen Outreach program helping feed homeless teens or teens that need assistance with their living conditions. Mr. Terry Woods of TheVistaPress.com online newspaper passed out a sponsorship sheet for donation assistance for this program. You can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Assemblyman Chavez reported that on September 15th , there will be a micro-brewery competition between breweries in Vista, Carlsbad and Oceanside. More information on this event will be forthcoming.
The next Vista Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee meeting will be in the Chamber Office on August 4th .