California Senate Republicans Add Bills to Health Reform Debate
On Wednesday, Senate Republicans proposed a package of 24 bills intended to reduce health care costs and offer incentives to improve access to health care, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reports.
A package of similar proposals died during the regular legislative session after Democrats refused to take up the measures (Russ, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 10/10).
Senate Republicans' new proposal would not mandate health insurance coverage or aim for universal coverage (California State Senate Republican Caucus release, 10/10).
The plan calls for:
- Increasing the number of community health clinics and allowing nurse practitioners to practice in the clinics;
- Providing financial incentives to hospitals who refer emergency department patients to clinics;
- Altering regulations to allow hospitals and clinics to offer "preventative services only" coverage (Senate Minority Leader George Runner (R-Antelope Valley) release, 10/10).
- Establishing financial incentives for physicians and nurses to practice in underserved communities; and
- Increasing state reimbursement rates to physicians who treat low-income patients.
The Senate Republican proposal comes a day after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) released a revised health care reform proposal that would be partially funded by leasing the state lottery system to a private group ("KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 10/10). Summaries of an opinion piece and editorial addressing the governor's plan appear below.
- Daniel Weintraub, Sacramento Bee: Because "no Democratic lawmaker stood with" Schwarzenegger on Wednesday to unveil his revised health care reform proposal, "it is clear that the governor will have to make even more compromises if he wants his plan to become law," Weintraub writes in his Bee column. "It's now up to the Democrats to propose changes in [Schwarzenegger's] plan that would be sufficient to get their votes," including revising the level of employer contributions, according to Weintraub (Weintraub, Sacramento Bee, 10/11).
- San Jose Mercury News: "The notion of using state lottery funds to pay for a portion of the reforms boils down to a desperate move unbecoming a governor who wants his reforms to be viewed as a model for the nation," a Mercury News editorial states. Schwarzenegger "shouldn't waste any more time trying to sell the state on a proposal that is not in the best interests of Californians" (San Jose Mercury News, 10/11).
Three broadcast programs recently reported on Schwarzenegger's revised plan. Summaries appear below.
- KCRW's "Which Way, L.A.?": The segment includes a discussion with David Carroll, research director for the California Budget Project; Jamie Court, president of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights; Peter Harbage, an independent consultant; and Mike Zapler, a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News (Olney, "Which Way, L.A.?," KCRW, 10/10). Additional details and audio of the segment are available online.
- KQED's "Forum": Thursday's program is scheduled to include a discussion with H.D. Palmer, deputy director for external affairs with the Department of Finance; Ernie Passailaigue, president of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries; Judy Lin, capital bureau reporter for the Bee; and Irwin Morris, professor and director of graduate studies at the University of Maryland's Department of Government and Politics ("Forum" Web site, 10/11). A broadcast schedule, details about the segment and call in information are available on the program's Web site. Audio of the segment will be available online after the broadcast.
- KQED's "The California Report": The segment includes comments from Schwarzenegger (Myers, "The California Report," KQED, 10/10). Audio of the segment is available online.