Health Care Not Prime Issue in Governor Race
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Angelides have both promised health care reforms if elected, but neither candidate has made health care a campaign priority, reflecting a lack of concern for the issue by voters, the Los Angeles Times reports (Lin, Los Angeles Times, 10/31).
A Public Policy Institute of California poll last week found that 4% of voters ranked health care as the most important issue facing the state, after immigration, education, the state budget and jobs (California Healthline, 10/26).
Summaries of the candidates' records and positions are provided below.
Citing economic concerns, Schwarzenegger has vetoed legislation that would have:
- Expanded eligibility for children's health insurance programs;
- Made it easier for state residents to purchase medications from other countries;
- Created a state-run, single-payer health insurance program.
The governor signed legislation that will require pharmaceutical firms to offer discounts to state residents.
If re-elected, the governor said he would prioritize health care reform efforts and consider strategies that focused primarily on reducing health care coverage costs (California Healthline, 10/26).
In a television interview Friday, the governor said: "We are going to go and do everything that we can to reform health care, to provide health care for everyone in California."
Despite his promises to prioritize health care reform, critics say the governor's record of opposing Democratic proposals and not offering his own strategies does "not bode well for a second term," the Times reports.
Angelides' health care plans are based on Democratic proposals that Schwarzenegger vetoed or were defeated at the polls, according to the Times (Los Angeles Times, 10/31).
Angelides did not endorse the single-payer legislation that Schwarzenegger vetoed but has said that he supports universal health care.
Angelides said that he would sponsor legislation to expand coverage to all children and that he would support legislation to cap at 10% of revenue HMO spending on administration and overhead. In addition, he said he would sign legislation to create a state Web site to help residents find lower-cost medications from Canadian pharmacies.
Angelides supports the drug discount program that Schwarzenegger enacted (California Healthline, 10/26).
CBS' "Evening News" on Monday examined California's role "leading a host of other states in tackling groundbreaking issues the federal government won't touch," including funding for embryonic stem cell research and providing prescription drug discounts to state residents. The segment includes comments from:
- Lt. Col. Charlie Brown, a Democratic candidate for Congress;
- Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.);
- Arnold Kriegstein, neural stem cell researcher and director of the University of California-San Francisco's Institute for Regenerative Medicine;
- Jack Pitney, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College; and
- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) (Hughes, "Evening News," CBS, 10/30).
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.