Questions Remain About Governor’s Reform Plan
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has not decided whether to unveil a detailed health care reform plan or present a broad outline, the Sacramento Bee reports. The governor on Jan. 9 is expected to unveil his reform plan during his State of the State address (Rojas, Sacramento Bee, 12/10).
Schwarzenegger on Nov. 26 said that his second-term goals for health care reform include reducing health care costs and extending coverage to all uninsured California residents (California Healthline, 11/27).
Schwarzenegger's appointed health care committee since September has held about 300 meetings with medical care providers, drug companies, employers and consumer advocates.
However, the governor is still "weighing options," according to Margita Thompson, Schwarzenegger's press secretary.
Members of the California Legislature have proposed a set of health care-related bills, including:
AB 1 by Assembly member Mervyn Dymally (D-Compton) and SB 32 by Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) addressing children's health insurance coverage; and
AB 12 by Assembly member Jim Beall (D-San Jose) and AB 10 by Assembly member Hector De La Torre (D-South Gate) addressing employer contributions to health insurance benefits (Sacramento Bee, 12/10).
Expanding health coverage to all uninsured Californians will be difficult because of the cost of such a project, debate in California over undocumented immigrants and its low-priority status for state voters, columnist Dan Walters writes in the Sacramento Bee. "We shouldn't be surprised if ... what emerges" from the health care reform discussions underway "is a modest plan for the 763,000 children who lack health coverage," Walters writes (Walters, Sacramento Bee, 12/10).
Summaries of an editorial and opinion piece addressing health care expansion efforts for California children appear below.
San Jose Mercury News: Schwarzenegger has spent the last three years "ignoring a health care crisis that is growing worse by the day," a Mercury News editorial states. If the governor "is serious about fulfilling" his 2003 pledge to insure all of California's children, he must present a detailed plan during next month's State of the State address that includes a "legitimate funding source" (San Jose Mercury News, 12/10).
- Assembly member John Laird, Santa Cruz Sentinel: Insuring all of California's children "is not only the right thing to do, it is sound fiscal policy," Laird (D-Santa Cruz) writes in a Santa Cruz Sentinel opinion piece. "It makes sense to provide less expensive coverage ... to children before they end up in the emergency room" (Laird, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 12/10).