Analysts Skeptical of Governor’s Health Care Reform Goals
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) second-term goals to reduce health care costs and extend coverage to all 6.7 million uninsured California residents has drawn skepticism from analysts because of the state's budget deficit, Reuters reports.
With the state facing a $5.5 billion budget deficit, observers question where funding would come from to extend coverage to all 6.7 million uninsured residents (Christie, Reuters, 11/27).
Earlier this month, Beth Capell -- spokesperson for Health Access, a health care advocacy group -- estimated that it would cost about $6 billion to expand coverage to half of the state's uninsured residents (California Healthline, 11/15).
Despite the high estimates and pressure from credit rating agencies to address the state budget deficit, Schwarzenegger has said he will not raise taxes or significantly expand state spending (Reuters, 11/27).
Schwarzenegger's voting record against health care legislation signals that it is unclear whether he can achieve cooperation in the Legislature and reform the health care system, a San Francisco Chronicle editorial states.
Proposals for health care reform cannot be compared to other states because California's health care situation is "very different from Massachusetts -- indeed from the rest of the United States." For a plan to succeed, "all parties, including the governor, must be ready to do some hard work to challenge a status quo that enriches a few special interests" (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/28).