CALIFORNIA: WILSON’S PLAN GREETED WITH BIPARTISAN SUPPORT
Gov. Pete Wilson's (R) "design of a massive new healthThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
program for children of the working poor won swift bipartisan
Los Angeles Times reports. The "political harmony" raised hopes
that a deal could be reached before the end of the legislative
session, which is two weeks away. The support for the plan is
also significant because "assistance to the poor is a traditional
battleground for Wilson and the Democrats." Senate President Pro
Tem Bill Lockyer (D) said, "I think the plan is basically very
sound. The encouraging thing is that I think we are
philosophically close to an agreement." Assembly Speaker Cruz
Bustamante's (D) office "said the speaker had no major
disagreements with the plan."
NOT ALL ROSES
Despite the positive reaction yesterday to Wilson's plan,
there remains some concern that the plan, which would "create a
new pool of private insurance companies" that would provide
coverage to children, will be less effective than the Medi-Cal
program. Some Democratic lawmakers expressed concern that the
"private insurance companies will not contract with doctors and
hospitals that are now on the front line of providing health care
to the poor" (Lesher/Rivera, 8/28). A
Los Angeles Times editorial raises objections to the Wilson plan.
The Times writes that Wilson's proposed private insurance program
is "untested and too risky to become the state's principal means
of caring for uninsured children." The plan, according to the
Times would "be more complicated and offer fewer benefits than
Medi-Cal, and at higher out-of-pocket costs for poor families."
The editors instead favor a "mixed model that tries out some new
private insurance programs and at the same time expands Medi-
Cal." The editorial also laments the failure of the California
government to allocate federal money for children's health. That
failure will prevent implementation of the program until July