Schwarzenegger Plans To Address Health Insurance Coverage
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) in 2006 plans "to adopt some of his opponents' most important issues as his own," including children's health care coverage, the Los Angeles Times reports.
State health officials have said they are looking at several options to extend health care coverage, including increasing the numbers of nurses and doctors in schools, as well as expanding the use of preventive health care programs through federal waivers, the Times reports.
In addition, health officials are considering programs in other states, such as a Wisconsin plan that uses a payroll tax to provide vouchers to buy basic health insurance, or a plan that would require all state residents to obtain health insurance, similar to car insurance requirements.
Schwarzenegger has recently come under fire for vetoing a Democratic bill that would have expanded eligibility for Healthy Families. Schwarzenegger has said he wants to expand health care coverage to the estimated 6.6 million uninsured state residents but will focus on the 780,000 children without insurance because of an expected state budget deficit.
Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Kim Belshe said the governor "has been very clear about his interest in providing health coverage to more low-income uninsured children" in 2006 but wants to be sure that the state can fund the program.
According to the Times, Democrats also said they would work to expand health care coverage for children.
Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) said providing health insurance for children and teenagers "is going to be a huge priority for us next year" (Salladay, Los Angeles Times, 10/16).