Governor’s Health Care Announcement Expected Monday
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Monday is expected to unveil his plan for reforming California's health care system, the Los Angeles Times reports. The next day, the governor will give his State of the State speech (Nicholas, Los Angeles Times, 1/3).
The governor to date has not indicated what options he is considering for a reform plan but last month said he wants to "bring some sanity to the [health care] system and insure everyone." Schwarzenegger has vowed not to raise taxes to fund a reform plan.
Administration officials said that the governor favors a "shared responsibility" formula that requires contributions from multiple parties, including businesses (California Healthline, 12/19/06).
Republican lawmakers said they will oppose any plan that involves employer mandates for health insurance coverage or that seeks funds from the state budget to expand coverage, according to the Times (Los Angeles Times, 1/3).
The AP/Bakersfield Californian reports that Republicans could use their ability to block the state budget "to win concessions on other measures," possibly including health care reform.
Democrats control both the Assembly and the Senate but lack the two-thirds majority necessary to pass the budget without Republican votes (Young, AP/Bakersfield Californian, 1/3).
Summaries of a recent editorial and opinion piece addressing the governor's expected health care reform proposal are provided below.
San Diego Union-Tribune: The risk of a health care reform plan is that "Sacramento will simply pour more taxpayer cash into health care, which would encourage further acceleration of costs," a Union-Tribune editorial states. The state instead should "empower consumers" by providing easier access to "low-cost, high-deductible policies backed by health savings accounts," according to the editorial. Schwarzenegger must "look beyond government to solve this crisis," the editorial concludes (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/3).
- David Lazarus, San Francisco Chronicle: Schwarzenegger's plan to extend health coverage to all uninsured California residents and to reduce health care costs "won't be easy, particularly in light of the state's projected $5.5 billion budget shortfall" and the governor's promise to not raise taxes, Lazarus writes in a Chronicle opinion piece. If Schwarzenegger and other lawmakers in 2007 want to reform the health care system, "then it can only be hoped that their efforts will be marked by ... political courage and unity," according to Lazarus (Lazarus, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/3).