Governor Promotes Health Care Reform in Address to Lawmakers
On Tuesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) called on lawmakers to approve his health care reform plan during a State of the State address that focused mainly on reining in California's $14 billion budget deficit, the Los Angeles Times reports (Rothfeld, Los Angeles Times, 1/9).
Schwarzenegger has maintained that the budget deficit or spending cuts would not interfere with ABX1 1, the compromise health care reform bill negotiated by the governor and Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles).
However, Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) remains skeptical and has asked the Legislative Analyst's Office to assess the plan's effect on the budget deficit. Perata has said that he will not hold a Senate vote on the plan until LAO completes its report (California Healthline, 1/7).
In urging lawmakers to approve a health care overhaul, the governor said, "Sometimes you have to be daring, because the need is so great" (Los Angeles Times, 1/9).
He also noted that California's "health care system is collapsing under its weight, its costs, its gaping holes, its injustices" (Ainsworth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/9).
Sen. Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks) said he was "very disappointed" that Schwarzenegger urged spending cuts while at the same time promoted a health care reform plan that is "the biggest social spending program ... in the history of this or any state" (Sheppard, Los Angeles Daily News, 1/9).
Núñez said, "I was the first one to clap when" the governor promoted health care reform. He added, however, that the governor's proposed across-the-board spending cuts to reduce the budget deficit are not "consistent with the people of California" (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 1/9).
Video footage of Schwarzenegger's speech is available on his Web site.
Summaries of editorials addressing the governor's State of the State address appear below.
- Sacramento Bee: "The governor remains committed to passing health care reform, despite the budget troubles," a Bee editorial states. If Schwarzenegger's proposed spending cuts spread "the pain judiciously, Democrats will be more likely to work with him on some of his long-term reforms," according to the editorial (Sacramento Bee, 1/9).
- San Diego Union-Tribune: "The possibility that" the health care reform plan "will spur a huge and costly expansion of the state's role in health care is plain," a Union-Tribune editorial states. "Given that Perata has already suggested he will support Schwarzenegger's health reform plan in return for budget concessions, watch out, taxpayers" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/9).