Bipartisan Consensus Needed for California Health Reform
"As the chance for health care reform becomes ever more real, a solid majority of Californians across party lines are steadfastly holding to the view that major changes are needed in the state's health care system," Mark Baldassare, president of the Public Policy Institute of California, writes in a Sacramento Bee opinion piece.
Baldassare highlights a recent PPIC survey showing "that the major components of both" Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) and Democratic legislative leaders' "plans for expanding health coverage enjoy strong support from the public."
According to Baldassare, although "voters are unlikely to delve deeply into the details that health care reform will require, they will be intensely interested in knowing what they are being asked to pay in exchange for more certainty about medical costs and health coverage."
Baldassare notes that the "real challenge" for the governor and lawmakers is to "present a united front to voters" on a health care reform plan, arguing that in "this era of 'hybrid democracy,' voters are most willing to support elected officials' plans if they are bipartisan agreements that reflect the public's broad interests."
Baldassare contends that without this alliance between Schwarzenegger and Democratic lawmakers, "Californians will join other Americans in waiting for a new president and Congress to take action in 2009" on health care reform (Baldassare, Sacramento Bee, 9/30).