Assembly Republicans Could Miss Vote on Health Care Reform
The scheduled Assembly vote next week on a health care reform plan by Democratic legislative leaders will occur the same day that Republican lawmakers will be away on an annual policy retreat, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.
Last week, Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles) postponed a vote on the plan (ABX1 1) until Dec. 5 to continue negotiating a compromise on health care reform with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). Núñez and Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) are carrying the measure.
Assembly Minority Leader Mike Villines (R-Clovis) said Núñez told him he would "try to accommodate" Republican legislators but has no plans to further postpone the vote.
Villines said, "I don't see any obvious reason that we need to keep a floor session (scheduled then)." He maintained that Republicans will oppose the plan if the vote is not rescheduled (Goldmacher, Sacramento Bee, "Capitol Alert," 11/27).
Schwarzenegger and Democratic lawmakers, aware of Republican opposition to tax increases, plan to ask voters in the November 2008 election to approve a funding mechanism for the plan.
The Democrats favor a tobacco tax increase of $2 per pack, while Schwarzenegger has proposed leasing the state lottery to a private operator (California Healthline, 11/27).
Steve Maviglio, spokesperson for Núñez, said the vote cannot be rescheduled because it is based on "the secretary of state's deadline for putting a measure on the November 2008 ballot." He added, "We don't have much of a choice. Deadlines are deadlines" (Sacramento Bee, "Capitol Alert," 11/27).
Earlier this month, the Assembly Health Committee approved the Democrats' plan, which more closely resembles the governor's health care plan than an earlier Democratic proposal did. However, differences remain over employer contributions, how to finance the proposed coverage expansion and other issues (California Healthline, 11/27).
"Gov. Schwarzenegger's (health care reform) plan is no cure," a Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial states. "It's just another cost-shifting scheme. And whatever cost is advertised will likely be understated by millions - or billions," according to the editorial (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 11/27).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.