Is Health Care Reform Possible Without More Federal Money?
Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D) this week acknowledged the elephant in the room in California's health care reform debate -- how much is the federal government going to kick in to help overhaul the state's health care system?
Gov. Schwarzenegger was in Washington, D.C., this week trying to drum up support for his reform plan -- one that could not be adopted without a jump of more than $3 billion in federal funds at a time when President Bush is calling on Congress to rein in spending on health care programs. Schwarzenegger stated his opposition to the proposed cuts in letters to the president and HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt.
But the question remains -- are the feds going to pony up for California to re-work its health care system? California's senior senator, Dianne Feinstein (D), was skeptical, and Kuehl said the odds are stacked against the governor.
Kuehl thinks the federal funding problem could strengthen the odds for her effort to create a state-run, single-payer health care system in California, because the system she's proposing would not rely on money from Washington, D.C.
As the back and forth over federal funds continues, California lawmakers in the past week introduced legislation that would require approval from the state for health insurance rate increases and a bill on funding for children's health insurance, among other issues.