Schwarzenegger Pledges Second Try on Health Care Overhaul
In an interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said that he would try again to enact legislation to overhaul the state's health care system and that he would not reduce the scale of his plan to get it approved, the AP/San Jose Mercury News reports.
Schwarzenegger last year negotiated a $14.7 billion health care package with Democratic leaders, but the Senate Health Committee rejected the measure in January.
In the interview, Schwarzenegger said that he is obligated to try to make health care available to an estimated 5.1 million uninsured Californians. He said that his staff is working to resolve problems in the previous plan but that he will not break the plan apart to address only children's health or problems with Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program.
Schwarzenegger said, "Now we'll try again. We will continue on, keeping the stakeholders together, fine-tuning it and seeing if we can improve on it since we have the time now, then be back again. We feel very confident."
He said that a Field Poll released this week showing that nearly three-quarters of state voters supported the basic concept of Schwarzenegger's plan will give new momentum to the proposal.
"I think that will inspire everyone here that we were on the right track, that those that had doubts, that those that used the budget as an excuse for not passing it ... that we were doing the right thing and they were wrong," Schwarzenegger said (Williams, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 4/30).
"It's not too late to resurrect the governor's plan," a Mercury News editorial states, adding that "even though it might take a miracle to reform health care in California, it's worth a shot in 2009."
The editorial states, "If public support for reform remains strong, the stars will be aligned for the governor to make another run at passing his comprehensive package" (San Jose Mercury News, 4/30).