Assembly Speaker Says He Doesn’t Expect Health Care Reform This Year
The health care reform measure (ABX1 1) that the Senate Health Committee rejected last month probably will not be revived any time soon, according to Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles), who helped negotiate the plan, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
"I think that health care reform, for all intents and purposes, is not going to happen in 2008," Núñez said, adding that he hopes someone will "pick up the ball where we left off in 2009 and 2010" (Zapler, San Jose Mercury News, 2/13).
The Assembly passed the measure in December 2007, but the Senate committee voted 7-1 against the bill, with three Democratic members abstaining. The legislation received no support from Republican committee members.
The plan would have required about 3.6 million of the 5.1 million permanently uninsured residents to obtain health care coverage.
Aside from approval from the Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), the plan could not have taken effect without voter support of its funding mechanism. A ballot measure was planned for November (California Healthline, 1/29).
The governor insisted that he was still committed to the issue. He said, "We're going to have comprehensive health care reform, even though we experienced a bump in the road." Schwarzenegger did not offer a timeline.
Lawmakers currently are focused "almost exclusively" on the $14.5 billion budget deficit, pushing health care reform off the agenda, the Mercury News reports (Zapler, San Jose Mercury News, 2/13).