Partisanship, Interest Groups Hinder Health Reform
Plans to overhaul the state health care system are "being doused with partisan politics from consumer and labor groups whose constituencies have the most to lose," a San Francisco Chronicle editorial states.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) plan to lease the state lottery to help fund the added coverage is "an idea loaded with problems and may deserve to be tossed out," according to the editorial. However, "negotiations aimed at the larger goal of health reform must continue," the editorial states.
The editorial adds that the health care reform debate "could harden into a stalemate if these groups follow through on threats to wage a TV ad campaign, picket lines at Schwarzenegger appearances and petition drives." The editorial concludes, "Too much progress has been made to let this effort be torpedoed by a partisan effort" (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/18).
With exception of health insurers, "few would argue that our current health care system, at all levels, is broken," but "bipartisan apathy" is making reform an "arduous task," Byron Williams, an Oakland pastor and syndicated columnist, writes in an Oakland Tribune opinion piece.
Williams cites a recent study by MAPLight.org that highlights "the fate of seven health care bills and the relationship between how votes were cast and who contributed to the elected official" as part of a body of developments that raises questions about special interest groups' influence over politics.
"A volunteer, public campaign financing system, like those in Arizona and Maine, is the only solution," Williams says, adding that "it is up to the people of California to provide elected officials the option of turning away from the campaign trough" (Williams, Oakland Tribune, 10/18).