DEMOCRATS: Strong New Majority Will Bring Agenda For Change
Happy days are here again for California Democrats -- they are "dusting off all the bills vetoed by Republican governors for the past 16 years," including a host of managed care reforms blocked by outgoing Gov. Pete Wilson (R). In addition to capturing the governorship, Democrats will have a 25-15 margin in the Senate and "at least 48-30 in the Assembly," pending the outcome of two races which are still too close to call. The AP/Long Beach Press-Telegram reports that "Democratic candidates around the country, including [Governor-elect Gray] Davis, promised they would pass laws to curb" HMOs. Ed Howard of Consumers for Quality Care noted, however, that the "opportunity for Democrats is also a warning. You make HMOs a big issue and you had better perform, or we will vote someone else into office." Possible candidates for legislative action include bills "to create a commission to regulate HMOs and to require HMOs to cover mental illness, contraceptives and vaccines for children" (Kerr, 11/5). Senate President Pro Tem John Burton (D- San Francisco) said, "Democrats are not going to go nuts. We are going to try to correct some past wrongs or injustices" (Gunnison/Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/5). Davis has said he will make policy changes "in thematic stages, beginning with education, then business and health" (Wilkie, Copley News/San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/5). Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) said she plans to stay the course despite "suggestions that she might consider toning down her often combative style or broadening her range of issues to shake the image, fostered by her opponents, that she is a narrowly focused liberal." She said, "I'm going to go back and get that patients rights bill done, raise the minimum wage, protect a woman's right to choose, and increase gun controls" (Perry/Pyle, Los Angeles Times, 11/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.