Candidates Do Not Emphasize Health Care
Neither Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Angelides nor Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has made health care a campaign priority, despite 6.5 million state residents lacking health insurance, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Chorneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/26).
A Public Policy Institute of California poll found that 4% of voters ranked health care as the most important issue facing the state, after immigration, education, the state budget and jobs. The environment also was cited as top priority by 4% of respondents (Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/26).
Summaries of the candidates' records and positions are provided below.
Schwarzenegger's record on health care is "mixed," according to the Chronicle. Citing economic concerns, Schwarzenegger has vetoed legislation that would have:
- Expanded eligibility for children's health insurance programs;
- Made it easier for state residents to purchase medications from other countries;
- Created a state-run, single-payer health insurance program.
The governor signed legislation that will require pharmaceutical firms to offer discounts to state residents.
If re-elected, the governor said he would prioritize health care reform efforts and consider strategies that focused primarily on reducing health care coverage costs.
Angelides "has not had the same opportunity or responsibility" as Schwarzenegger to address health care, according to the Chronicle. He did not endorse the single-payer legislation that Schwarzenegger vetoed but has said that he supports universal health care.
Angelides said that he would sponsor legislation to expand coverage to all children and that he would support legislation to cap at 10% of revenue HMO spending on administration and overhead. In addition, he said he would sign legislation to create a state Web site to help residents find lower-cost medications from Canadian pharmacies.
Angelides supports the drug discount program that Schwarzenegger enacted (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/26).