Schwarzenegger Pitches Need for Compromise in Health Reform
At President Obama's Regional White House Forum on Health Reform in Los Angeles Monday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) emphasized the need for compromise to achieve health care reform, AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports (Williams, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 4/6).
Schwarzenegger and Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) co-moderated the forum (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 4/7).
- Consumer and health care groups;
- Insurance companies; and
- Business owners (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 4/6).
The forum was the last in a series of town hall meetings the Obama administration hosted. The White House touted the events as a way to get public feedback on health care reform (Girion/Levey, Los Angeles Times, 4/7).
Melody Barnes, domestic policy council director for Obama, said the president would like to have health care reform legislation drafted within 100 days in hopes of signing it into law by the end of 2009 (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 4/6).
Schwarzenegger, Gregoire Comments
Schwarzenegger attributed the failure of his 2007 effort to overhaul health care in California to a lack of compromise.Â
Referring to early meetings with health care stakeholders, Schwarzenegger recalled saying, "You cannot sit here and ask for a straight 10 on health care reform, each one of you, because each one of (your) straight 10s doesn't pencil out, doesn't bring us together.Â You have to settle for a seven maybe."
Responding to criticism that Obama is taking on too much early in his term, Gregoire said that economic recovery relies on health care reform (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 4/6).
The California Nurses Association, Physicians for a National Health Program and other groups rallied outside the forum, calling for a single-payer health care system (Los Angeles Times, 4/7).
Twice Schwarzenegger has vetoed bills in the state that sought to create a single-payer health system (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 4/6).Â
Deborah Burger, co-president of the nurses union, said she was concerned that Congress would not consider the single-payer system because of lobbying by the insurance industry. She referred to the forum as "window dressing" because it did not include comments from supporters of single-payer health care (Los Angeles Times, 4/7).
Schwarzenegger Health Care Legacy
According to the Bee, Gov. Schwarzenegger had hoped to make universal coverage part of his legacy as governor.
Given California's budget situation, Schwarzenegger spokesperson Lisa Page said the governor is going over "cost-effective and creative ways to avoid creating unfunded liabilities or higher taxes" (Sacramento Bee, 4/7).
California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Kim BelshÃ© said, "The answer to this problem is a combination of public and private solutions."Â She added, "The president and the governor have both tried to drive that (discussion) toward the middle" (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 4/6).
Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reported on the forum (Weiss, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 4/6).
In addition, KCRW's "Which Way, L.A.?" included a discussion of the forum with:
- Tom Epstein, vice president of public affairs for Blue Shield of California;
- Eric Garcetti, president of the Los Angeles City Council;
- Lisa Girion, a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times;
- Betsy Imholz, director of special projects for Consumers Union; and
- Geri Jenkins, co-president of CNA (Olney, "Which Way, L.A.?" KCRW, 4/6).