Legislation, Including Health Care-Related Bills, Compete With Possible Special Election for Attention from Legislators, Governor
The "political equivalent to a game of chicken" between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and Democratic legislators has made it difficult for many issues, such as legislation to address prescription drug costs and other health care-related concerns, to "gain traction," according to some legislators and observers, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Legislation (SB 19) to enact Schwarzenegger's California Rx plan faces a future that "is uncertain at best," in part because some Democratic legislators "want to see other, tougher bills enacted," the Chronicle reports.
Steve Maviglio, a deputy chief of staff to Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles), said SB 19 would not be approved by the Assembly.
In addition, bills such as SB 19 "face competition for the attention of lawmakers focused on negotiations with Schwarzenegger on his proposals to adopt merit pay for teachers, overhaul the public employee pension system, impose new budget controls and strip lawmakers of their authority to draw political boundaries," the Chronicle reports (Hubbel, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/28).
Summaries of other health care-related bills under consideration in the Legislature are provided below.
AB 1670, by Assembly members Joe Nation (D-San Rafael) and Keith Richman (R-Northridge), is part of a package of legislation that would require individuals to maintain at least catastrophic coverage with an annual deductible of no more than $5,000, establish "purchasing pools" organized by county or region to help individuals and small employers buy health insurance at lower rates and provide government subsidies for state residents whose annual incomes do not exceed 200% of the federal poverty level (California Healthline, 2/11).
SB 840, by Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), would create a state-run health insurance system for all state residents -- including a state agency, commissioner and medical board -- to negotiate fees, set policy on medical issues and pay claims (California Healthline, 2/25).
AB 654, by Assembly members Patty Berg (D-Eureka) and Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys), would allow some terminally ill patients to receive lethal prescriptions after a series of patient-doctor consultations that generally last a minimum of two weeks (California Healthline, 3/2).
In related news, the Washington Post on Monday examined the debate between Schwarzenegger and state legislators. According to the Post, Schwarzenegger "is girding for what could be the most contentions political confrontation" California has seen in years (Balz, Washington Post, 3/28).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.