Last Friday -- as expected -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) vetoed legislation by Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles) that would have created a state-run, single payer health system. Schwarzenegger in his veto message said he wants "to see a new paradigm that addresses affordability, shared responsibility and the promotion of healthy living." The governor also hired two consultants from opposing sides of the political spectrum to help him draft a health care reform proposal that does not include a government-run system.
Schwarzenegger's veto comes as the Citizens' Health Care Working Group, created by the 2003 Medicare law, this week released a report calling for an independent "public-private entity" to define a basic set of health care benefits and services. By 2012, the coverage should be made available to all U.S. residents at an affordable cost, according to the report. The panel said the first step would be to develop a "national public or private program ... to ensure protection against very high out-of-pocket medical costs for everyone."
Schwarzenegger also signed on a number of women's health measures, including a bill that will limit compensation for women who agree to donate eggs for stem cell research. The law also will require written and oral consent from women before they can begin drug therapy to produce eggs.
With one day left to act on legislation, 503 bills remain on Gov. Schwarzenegger's desk.
This week's Legislative Update also highlights several other measures Schwarzenegger acted on, including:
- Legislation he signed that requires pharmacists to inform customers of their rights in obtaining certain treatments or devices if a pharmacist declines to fill a prescription for personal reasons;
- A measure to require the development of a fee schedule for payments for indigent care; and
- A vetoed bill that would have allowed federally qualified health centers to bill Medi-Cal for some services.