Governor’s Health Care Proposal Survives Early Challenges
Delegates at the California Republican Party Convention on Sunday rejected two proposed resolutions seeking to oppose Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) health care reform proposal and denounce his mandatory contributions for health providers and businesses as a tax increase, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Neither proposal won approval by the party's resolutions committee (Wildermuth/Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/12).
The resolutions would have sought to place on a statewide ballot a referendum on the governor's plan if it were to win Legislative approval (Geissinger, Oakland Tribune, 2/11).
However, the 15-member resolutions committee lacked the necessary amount of members to consider the resolutions. If approved, the resolutions would have been put before the entire convention general assembly as a simple-majority vote.
Furthermore, a vote by the 1,200 delegates of the general assembly did not attain the two-thirds majority necessary to waive the rules and allow consideration of the resolutions.
Hector Barajas, press secretary for the California Republican Party, said, "Delegates were not willing to debate the [resolutions]" (Geissinger, San Jose Mercury News, 2/12).
Senate staff members said detailed bills to enact health reform proposals offered by the governor and other legislators likely will not be drafted and debated until April, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Schwarzenegger has traveled throughout the state gathering support for his proposal among business leaders, medical providers and insurers and has encountered limited organized opposition.
However, more significant opposition to the governor's reform proposal could develop once detailed legislation is introduced, a development that could divide groups that currently are backing the plan.
The Legislature on Thursday will begin considering health care proposals announced by the governor and other lawmakers (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 2/10).
The governor's plan to require employers with 10 or more workers to offer health benefits or contribute 4% of payroll into a state fund could provoke some employers to reduce their benefits to meet the plan's minimum requirements or eliminate benefits and pay into the state fund, the East Bay Business Times reports.
Eighty percent of California businesses with 10 to 49 employees offered health benefits in 2006 and contributed 7.2% of payroll to employee premiums, according to a RAND study and a separate study by the California HealthCare Foundation and the Center for Studying Health System Change.
The minimum coverage required by Schwarzenegger's proposal is a $5,000 deductible plan with an out-of-pocket maximum of $7,500 per individual and $10,000 per family (Robertson, East Bay Business Times, 2/9).
"The Legislature needs to keep comprehensive reform on track when it opens hearings Thursday" on health care reform, a San Jose Mercury News editorial states. "Leaders on both sides of the aisle ... seem to grasp that this is the best opportunity of this generation to achieve desperately needed health care reform," the editorial states, concluding, "Let's hope the spirit continues as the serious debate begins" (San Jose Mercury News, 2/11).
KPCC's "Patt Morrison" on Friday included discussions on the California Republican Convention, Republican presidential candidates and how some Republican leaders in California "are at odds with their party's top elected official over taxes, health care and other policies." Guests on the program include Carla Marinucci, a political reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle; Sen. Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks); and Arnold Steinberg, a Republican political strategist and analyst (Morrison, "Patt Morrison," KPCC, 2/9). 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.