Governor’s Health Reform Plan Faces Tough Test in Assembly
As the Assembly Health Committee gets set to debate Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) health care reform proposal on Wednesday, several lobbyists contend that a compromise on an overhaul is unlikely this year, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The governor had called a special legislative session to work with Democratic legislative leaders to reach a deal on health care reform, but lobbyists for various stakeholders maintain that those efforts are "dead."
However, Aaron McLear, Schwarzenegger's press secretary, said, "From our standpoint, it's very much alive."
The governor and Democrats remain at odds over several sticking points in the governor's revised health care reform plan, mainly a provision that would require all residents to obtain health insurance coverage.
Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles) and fellow Democrats oppose an individual mandate without guarantees that insurance will be affordable (Ainsworth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/31).
Núñez said he is negotiating alternative ideas with Schwarzenegger and said he hopes a deal can be reached before the end of the year (Chorneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/31). McLear said that Schwarzenegger met privately with Núñez for about 90 minutes on Monday (Myers, "Capital Notes," KQED, 10/30).
On Tuesday, labor unions released a report criticizing Schwarzenegger's proposal to partially fund his $14 billion health care plan with proceeds from a lease of the state lottery.
The report predicts that leasing the lottery will generate about half of the $37 billion from investors that some Wall Street analysts estimate. As a result, labor unions contend that the lottery revenue to help pay for a health care overhaul would run out in less than 10 years.
The report also criticizes the proposed lease for replacing education's current lottery proceeds with General Fund revenues, a move that could strain funding for other state programs ("Capital Notes," KQED, 10/30).
Opposition from labor unions has strained efforts to win Democratic support for the governor's health care reform plan (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/31).
Summaries of opinion pieces regarding health care reform in California appear below.
- Wendy Lazarus, Rev. Charles Warner, Sacramento Bee: Elected leaders in California "cannot let comprehensive [health care reform] efforts push aside" work to expand health insurance coverage specifically to children, Lazarus, president and co-founder of the Children's Partnership, and Rev. Warner, board president of the Sacramento Area Congregations Together, write in a Bee opinion piece. "Our elected leaders must not allow the 'Year of Health Care Reform' to end without delivering health coverage to all children in California," Lazarus and Warner write (Lazarus/Warner, Sacramento Bee, 10/31).
- Spyros Andreopoulos, San Francisco Chronicle, "The governor and California lawmakers must realize that imposing an obligation to buy private insurance that costs $12,000 a year for a family of four is not health care reform," Andreopoulos, director emeritus of the Office of Communication and Public Affairs at Stanford University Medical Center, writes in a Chronicle opinion piece. "The focus must be how to cut costs and streamline the system, and what will the end product look like, and most important, persuading Californians that health insurance will be affordable," Andreopoulos writes (Andreopoulos, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/30).
Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" on Wednesday reported on the scheduled hearing. The segment includes comments from McLear (Russ, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 10/31).
A transcript and audio of the segment are available online.