Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) this week signed a package of legislation that a statement issued by his office said is "designed to eliminate roadblocks to coverage, expand care for terminally ill children and provide preventative care to keep children healthy." One of the laws will direct the Department of Health Services and other state agencies to assist in the development of 500 school-based health clinics -- a plan Schwarzenegger said he supported in advance of his summit on health care last July. Schwarzenegger has said he believes that all children in the state should have health care coverage, and he has included $80 million in the 2006-2007 state budget to increase outreach efforts and enroll eligible children in state-sponsored health plans. About $23 million of those funds will be used specifically for enrollment efforts in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families.
As was widely expected, the governor vetoed a measure that would have increased the number of weeks workers with permanent disabilities would have been eligible for workers' compensation benefits. In his veto message, Schwarzenegger wrote that the bill would "double the cost of permanent disability benefits." He added, "I simply cannot support a measure that would reverse many of the economic gains now powering California's economy."
This week's Legislative Update also highlights several other measures Schwarzenegger signed, including:
- Legislation that will prevent long-term care insurance rate increases from exceeding a certain level;
- A measure that will designate funding for safety net hospitals; and
- A bill that to allow CalPERS members to enroll in the Medicare prescription drug benefit.