Lawmakers, Local Leaders Weigh in on Health Reform
Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles) on Saturday attended a town hall meeting at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno to build public support for his bill (AB 8) to overhaul California's health care system and expand health insurance coverage, the Fresno Bee reports (Clemings, Fresno Bee, 5/13).
Núñez in December 2006 proposed requiring businesses to provide health insurance to employees or contribute to a state fund from which workers would purchase coverage. The plan also would extend coverage to all children in California, including children of undocumented immigrants.
Núñez's plan also calls for the state to extend coverage within five years to the estimated 2.5 million unemployed, low-income or childless adults who lack insurance coverage.
The measure currently is under consideration in the Assembly (California Healthline, 4/25).
Núñez told the crowd, "Within five years, everybody in California would have health care -- that's the plan that I'm proposing in a nutshell." He added, "We believe that this is the year we will get this done."
Other health care reform proposals seeking approval in the Legislature include a bill (SB 48) by Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) that is similar to Núñez's, and Sen. Sheila Kuehl's (D-Los Angeles) measure (SB 840) to create a single-payer, state-run health care system in California.
Núñez said that he "ultimately" supports a state-run system but that he does not think it could win approval from the Legislature or Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). He said, "We cannot let the perfect get in the way of the possible" (Fresno Bee, 5/13).
The Health Improvement Partnership of Santa Cruz County on Friday sponsored a summit on health care reform to review the various proposals under consideration in the Legislature, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports.
More than 120 people attended the event, including medical providers, lawmakers, businesses and union leaders.
Among the proposals discussed were Schwarzenegger's overhaul plan and Kuehl's legislation for a single-payer, state-run system.
Assembly member John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) said he predicts that Kuehl's bill will pass in the Legislature but will face a veto by the governor (Gumz, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 5/12).