Governor Optimistic That Voters Will OK Health Reform Funding
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Wednesday said he was confident that California voters would approve a ballot initiative to finance health care reform by requiring contributions from health care providers and employers, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The governor told the Times editorial board that he believes labor unions, business groups and hospitals would endorse a new tax on health care providers and an employer mandate to contribute toward health care coverage.
Schwarzenegger's health care overhaul plan estimates that counties would receive about $1 billion annually that could be used to treat about 750,000 undocumented immigrants who are uninsured. However, counties would not be required to spend the funds on undocumented immigrants.
The governor said his plan would not give undocumented immigrants any new health care options (Rau, Los Angeles Times, 9/20).
The Sacramento Bee on Wednesday published an overview of the current special legislative session to negotiate a health care reform plan. The Bee also outlined overhaul proposals by Republican lawmakers and Democratic lawmakers (Rojas, Sacramento Bee, 9/20).
Summaries of opinion pieces and editorials regarding health care reform in California appear below.
- George Skelton, Los Angeles Times: Schwarzenegger and the Democrats have "no option, they think, but to compromise among themselves on a jumbo, eye-catching plan and pass it with a majority vote -- something, Republicans say, that the governor promised not to do," Skelton writes in his "Capitol Journal" column for the Times. "Then Schwarzenegger and his allies would have to sponsor a tax initiative for next November's ballot, battling Republicans and probably Blue Cross" of California, which has pledged to oppose components of health reform plans offered by the governor and Democrats, according to Skelton (Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 9/20).
- Daniel Weintraub, Sacramento Bee: "The biggest issue keeping [Schwarzenegger] and the Democrats in the Legislature from reaching agreement on a health care plan is the governor's proposal to require all Californians to have insurance," Weintraub writes in his Bee column. "Even if Schwarzenegger and legislators could agree that a mandate was a good idea and could agree on how to structure it, one big issue would remain: how to enforce it?" Weintraub writes (Weintraub, Sacramento Bee, 9/20).
- Los Angeles Times: Every California resident would benefit from health care reform "only if a bill -- a workable bill -- passes out of the ever-shortening special session," a Times editorial states. "This is a rare opportunity for California to capitalize on bipartisan agreement that health care demands fixing; it would be a tragedy to waste it," according to the editorial (Los Angeles Times, 9/20).
- San Francisco Chronicle: "Health care coverage for all Americans is best done at the national level, given the complexities of insurance, medical delivery, worker mobility and government money," a Chronicle editorial states. But a "federal solution" is "not likely to happen anytime soon," according to the editorial. "Cities and states have a pragmatic and moral obligation to fill the void in the meantime" (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/20).
NPR's "Morning Edition" on Thursday reported on the health care reform debate in California. The segment includes comments from:
- Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles);
- Assembly member Roger Niello (R-Sacramento);
- Larry Levitt, a vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation; and
- Darry Sragow, a Democratic political consultant (Jaffe, "Morning Edition," NPR, 9/20).
Audio of the segment is available online. 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.