Governor Stumps for Health Proposal in Washington, D.C.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Monday said he met with President Bush and plans to meet with HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt to seek federal support for his health care reform proposal, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Schwarzenegger, in Washington, D.C., for a National Governors Association meeting, said the president is "going to help us" and, along with Leavitt, "we're all going to work together." He added, "It was very encouraging and [President Bush] loves what we are doing" (Werner, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 2/27).
However, Schwarzenegger did not comment on whether Bush agreed to help fund the proposal (Pear, New York Times, 2/27).
Under the governor's plan, Medi-Cal and Healthy Families would be expanded to help provide coverage to low- and moderate-income state residents, and individuals who declined to carry insurance could face a reduction in state income tax refunds or have wages withheld.
The $12 billion plan relies on mandatory contributions from employers, individuals, insurers and medical providers (California Healthline, 1/9). The plan also relies on $5.74 billion annually from a range of federal programs.
Bush has proposed budget cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which could hinder the governor's plan. Schwarzenegger said he opposes the cuts (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 2/27).
Richard Figueroa, Schwarzenegger's top health care adviser, on Monday held a meeting with the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce to promote the governor's health care reform proposal, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.
Figueroa said the plan would require individuals to obtain coverage that would include a maximum deductible of $5,000 and provide coverage for preventive care. Monthly costs for the majority of people likely would range from about $50 to $100, he said.
Figueroa said the proposal is "not going to be inexpensive (for people), but it will be cheaper than if they went and purchased it now."
Chris Lynch, executive vice president of the chamber, said, "There are a lot of questions that have to be fleshed out at this point." He added, "It was a good discussion" (Halverson, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 2/27).
"Any plan that does not seriously address the underlying costs of health care will only move responsibility for those costs from one place to another," Daniel Weintraub writes in his Sacramento Bee column. "The health care industry has few if any incentives to reduce costs through the use of innovation and technology," according to Weintraub. "That means legislation that focuses mainly on expanding access to insurance is likely to miss the mark," he writes (Weintraub, Sacramento Bee, 2/27).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.