Schwarzenegger Addresses Consumer, Business Groups
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Wednesday said that California would be "an example for the rest of the country," if it extends health care coverage to all residents, the AP/Los Angeles Daily News reports (Kurtzman, AP/Los Angeles Daily News, 1/17).
The governor earlier this month unveiled his health care reform proposal. Under the governor's plan, Medi-Cal and Healthy Families would be expanded to help provide coverage to low- and moderate-income state residents. Individuals who decline to carry insurance would face a reduction in state income tax refunds or have wages withheld.
The $12 billion plan would require contributions from employers, individuals, insurers and medical providers (California Healthline, 1/16).
Schwarzenegger on Wednesday held a meeting with business and consumer groups to seek an agreement on how to afford universal coverage.
Consumer groups say that individuals should not be required to obtain insurance because of the increasing cost of premiums. They also want businesses to contribute a larger percentage of their payroll than outlined in Schwarzenegger's plan (AP/Los Angeles Daily News, 1/17).
Summaries of opinion pieces reacting to the governor's health care reform proposal appear below.
- John Fund, Wall Street Journal: "Rather than pursue a legally dubious universal coverage proposal, [Schwarzenegger] should have pursued the universal access he used to tout," Fund, a columnist for OpinionJournal.com, writes. Coverage mandates that "make insurance so expensive ... could be reduced and residents allowed to buy coverage from other states," but the governor's plan "piles on a new mandate" prohibiting insurers from rejecting an applicant, according to Fund. A similar rule in New Jersey increased premiums by 500%, Fund writes (Fund, Wall Street Journal, 1/18).
- Daniel Weintraub, Sacramento Bee: The differences between health care reform proposals by Schwarzenegger, Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles) "are mostly in the details -- or lack of details in the case of the legislative plans," Weintraub writes in his Bee column. Weintraub compares the plans and concludes, "the governor's plan would cover the most people but would also be the most expensive, and would mean more requirements for individuals, more regulation for [insurers], and more fees or taxes on [physicians] and hospitals" (Weintraub, Sacramento Bee, 1/18).
- Steve Wiegand, Sacramento Bee: In his Bee column, Wiegand notes that Republican legislators have yet to unveil a health care reform plan, and questions whether they will offer a proposal. Although Senate Republicans are discussing the issue, "it's not clear whether it will result in an actual proposal or just a response to other plans," Wiegand writes (Wiegand, Sacramento Bee, 1/18).