Health Care Expansion ‘Top Priority’ for Governor
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) expected focus on health care next year "is likely to boost national attention on one of the most intractable policy dilemmas facing the entire country" because the state "has been a leader in addressing national issues," the Wall Street Journal reports.
Schwarzenegger said that "fixing [California's] broken health care system is [his] No. 1 priority for 2007." He will unveil his health care reform plan on Jan. 9 during his State of the State address.
Schwarzenegger on Monday said, "Every idea is being debated: market-based solutions, employer mandates, individual mandates, new regulations, removing old regulations."
However, Schwarzenegger's opposition to raising taxes "could make it difficult for the governor to forge a bipartisan deal," according to the Journal.
Earlier this month, Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland) proposed a plan that would require contributions from both workers and employers. According to the Journal, Schwarzenegger "might be able to build on" Perata's "compromise approach." Some of the governor's political opponents, including the Service Employees International Union, also have said they will work with Schwarzenegger to find a solution (Carlton, Wall Street Journal, 12/21).
KPBS' "KPBS News" on Wednesday reported on reactions to Schwarzenegger's upcoming proposal on health care. The segment includes comments from Michael Osborne, a restaurant owner in the state, and Schwarzenegger (O'Mara, "KPBS News," KPBS, 12/20). A transcript and audio of the segment are available online.
In addition, KQED's "The California Report" on Wednesday reported on children who live in California but are not U.S. citizens and would not receive coverage under proposals to expand health insurance in the state. The segment includes comments from Perata, Schwarzenegger and Assembly Minority Leader Mike Villines (R-Fresno) (Myers, "The California Report," KQED, 12/20). Audio of the segment is available online.