Commentary Debates Effects, Prospects for Governor’s Reform Proposal
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) earlier this month unveiled his health care reform proposal. Under the governor's plan, Medi-Cal and Healthy Families would be expanded to help provide coverage to low- and moderate-income state residents. Individuals who decline to carry insurance would face a reduction in state income tax refunds or have wages withheld.
The $12 billion plan also would require contributions from employers, individuals, insurers and medical providers (California Healthline, 1/16).
Summaries of editorials and opinion pieces reacting to the health care reform proposal appear below.
- E. Richard Brown, Los Angeles Times: "Schwarzenegger's plan ... is likely to put some middle-class families and individuals at substantial risk," Brown, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, writes in a Times opinion piece. However, the "Legislature can fix these problems," Brown writes. "[I]ndividuals and families should get protection for their incomes" through a limit on the percentage of income spent on premiums and out-of-pocket costs, as well as full access to health insurance options available through the state pool if their employer does not provide coverage, according to Brown (Brown, Los Angeles Times, 1/17).
- Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee: "It didn't take long for the political fissure lines in [Schwarzenegger's] sweeping health care plan to emerge," Walters writes in his Bee column. "[I]f any substantial 'stakeholders' are left out of a final deal ... they might block enactment or defeat the plan via referendum or judicial challenge," Walters writes. However, "[i]f conflicts can be resolved and a final product emerges that is workable, it will be a political miracle," Walters concludes (Walters, Sacramento Bee, 1/17).
Dayton Daily News: "One might get the impression that [Schwarzenegger] doesn't care what he does, so long as it's big," a Daily News editorial states. Whatever the governor's motives are in proposing universal health coverage for all Californians, "enough state leaders have now gone in this direction that the time has come for people in other states to ask why their leaders haven't" offered proposals to expand coverage, according to the editorial (Dayton Daily News, 1/15).
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Schwarzenegger's health care reform proposal and similar proposals in other states represent a "growing recognition that our traditional approach to health care has failed to control costs, failed to extend coverage to [uninsured residents] and failed to match the performance of the rest of the developed world," a Post-Dispatch editorial states. "Leaders of both parties in [these] states understand that providing health care to all is a family value," according to the editorial (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1/16).