2000 LEGISLATIVE SESSION: Democrats Hope to Put Uninsured on Agenda
As state lawmakers convene Monday for the 2000 legislative session, Democrats declared their intentions to take on health care for the uninsured, the Orange County Register reports. Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa (D-Los Angeles) said the issue was one of his top priorities. "We have the best health care system in the world but we have seven million people who don't have access to it. There are people who are working and don't have health care. This state has to grapple with that issue." Sen. Leader John Burton (D-San Francisco) stressed the need to address mental health issues, particularly displaced mental institution patients who are now homeless (Weintraub, 1/4). Lawmakers will have about $3 billion in surplus funds this year to allocate to various programs. Other plans under consideration include wage increases for in-home disabled assistants, a $1 billion tax cut and a 50% cut in college fees. Gov. Gray Davis (D) likely will outline his plan for the money on Wednesday, when he will deliver the annual State of the State address, followed by the release of his proposed budget for 2000-2001 on Monday (Herdt, Ventura County Star, 1/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.