Davis, Gubernatorial Recall Candidates Answer Health Care Policy Questions
The Los Angeles Times on Sunday published responses from Gov. Gray Davis (D) and gubernatorial candidates Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (D), Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and Sen. Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks) to questions about various policy issues, including health care. Summaries of their responses are provided below.
- Bustamante said that he did not support any additional restrictions on abortion and that he supported "a woman's right to make her own decisions regarding her health and her body." Bustamante also said that he supported Medi-Cal funding for abortions.
- Davis said that he did not support any additional restrictions on abortion in California and said that he supported Medi-Cal funding for reproductive health care services.
- McClintock said that he is opposed to so-called "partial-birth" abortion and supports parental notification for abortions involving minors. McClintock said that he does not support Medi-Cal or any government funding for abortions.
- Schwarzenegger said, "I'm for choice. The women should have the choice."
- Bustamante said he opposed Proposition 54, also known as the Racial Privacy Initiative, which would prevent California government agencies and schools from collecting racial and ethnic data but would allow exemptions in instances involving some medical research data, convicted criminals or crime suspects and occasions in which the federal government requires racial data. "Prop 54 is an attack on our health system and must be stopped," he said.
- Davis said he opposed the measure in part because it could compromise efforts to collect public health information.
- McClintock said he "wholeheartedly" supports the measure.
- Schwarzenegger said he opposed Proposition 54, adding that it would "endanger our ability to gather information about health care and our schools."
- Bustamante said it is possible to eliminate an additional $500 million in spending due to Medi-Cal fraud and that SB 2 -- a Legislature-passed bill that would require some businesses in the state to provide health insurance to their employees or pay into a state fund that would provide insurance coverage -- could provide private health insurance to five million residents who are currently beneficiaries of state-subsidized health insurance programs. He notes that the California Medical Association estimates that SB 2 would reduce state and local health care spending by about $2 billion.
- Davis said that the budget issue should be resolved through "spending reductions, structural reform and, if necessary, responsible revenue increases."
- McClintock said the state could provide "far better health care coverage at far lower cost by using a prepaid, refundable tax credit" to provide a basic health plan for state residents.
- Schwarzenegger said the state needs "to get rid of costly mandates that make health insurance costs prohibitive," adding that the state government may play a role in expanding health coverage in the future but that "now is not the time to impose a costly new mandate on business" (Los Angeles Times, 9/28).