HEALTH REFORM: Davis Tells Legislators to Slow Down
Gov. Gray Davis, facing an avalanche of 60 health care bills approaching his desk, told key Democratic legislators Monday that "he did not share a vision of a major overhaul of health care" this year, and urged them to "slow down" and present him with a more concise package of bills. The announcement triggered fears that reform may simply be postponed as in years past. State Sen. Liz Figueroa (D-Fremont) said, "For me, it's deja vu of the Wilson administration. ... I hope that's not the case here. We'll have to wait and see." But Davis spokesperson Michael Bustamante, said, "The big difference is that Gov. Davis is interested in enacting HMO reforms" whereas Wilson was not (Ingram, Los Angeles Times, 7/15). He added, "The governor is interested in putting together a package of HMO legislation -- two, three, four, five bills -- that is a common-sense approach for consumers and that makes good business sense. This governor is interested in meaningful HMO reform, and the best way to do it is using not a shotgun approach but a common-sense approach." Davis said he is particularly concerned about the cost of the proposals being considered, and that the various bills "are disjointed and often duplicative." Assembly Health Committee Chair Martin Gallegos (D-El Monte), who called the meeting "very helpful," predicted that Davis would sign bills dealing with HMO liability, external review, second opinions, removing HMO regulation from the Department of Corporations and some new coverage mandates (Hoge/Matthews, Sacramento Bee, 7/15). Davis also said he will form an administration task force during the next month that will make recommendations to him on HMO reform (Los Angeles Times, 7/15).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.