Health Care an Issue in Elections for State Offices
Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (D) said he wants to explore expanding the insurance commissioner's control over health care if he is elected, adding, "If the private sector isn't going to take responsibility for the gap in coverage, then government needs to get involved" (Gledhill, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/9).
Republican Steve Poizner said he would work to educate an estimated two million qualified Californians about existing state health insurance programs.
The two candidates also differ on workers' compensation reforms.
Bustamante said he would propose legislation that would require insurers to increase benefits without increasing premiums and remove unnecessary limits on medical services.
Poizner said he would support "fine-tuning" workers' compensation laws to ensure workers receive prompt medial attention (Bailey, Contra Costa Times, 10/8).
Candidates Tom McClintock (R) and John Garamendi (D) discussed health care and abortion, among other issues, at a debate on Saturday. McClintock said he supports an income-based tax credit that would allow people to choose and purchase their own health insurance, with lower-income residents receiving a state subsidy.
Garamendi said that providing universal health care is the "right and moral thing to do" as premiums continue to increase in the face of high administrative costs and profits of private insurance companies (Rau, Los Angeles Times, 10/8). Garamendi supports Proposition 86, a measure on the November ballot to increase the state tax on a pack of cigarettes to fund health programs.
Meanwhile, McClintock said he supports Proposition 85 (Lawrence, AP/Contra Costa Times, 10/8).
Candidate Stewart Alexander, of the Peace & Freedom party, said if elected, he would work to ensure affordable health care and housing for all Californians and free college tuition (Richman, MediaNews/Contra Costa Times, 10/8).
Republican Tony Strickland, a former assembly member, said if elected, he would audit state agencies to ensure neither they or contractors are providing benefits to undocumented immigrants, MediaNews/Contra Costa Times reports.
Meanwhile, Democratic candidate John Chiang said he would try to maximize state profits, including investments like CalPERS, by investing in profitable companies that make medical devices or alternative energy. Chiang opposes privatization of pension systems.
Strickland has said he is especially concerned about unfunded liabilities for retiree health care and he would advocate full funding by the state to avoid a delinquency (Vo, MediaNews/Contra Costa Times, 10/8).