Schwarzenegger Predicts Spring Action on Health Reform
Overhauling California's health care system is one of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) two priorities for 2007, he said at a conference in Sacramento on Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reports. Reworking the state prison system is his other goal, Schwarzenegger said (Rojas, Sacramento Bee, 3/23).
Under the governor's plan for health care reform, Medi-Cal and Healthy Families would be expanded to help provide coverage to low- and moderate-income state residents. Individuals who declined to carry insurance could face a reduction in state income tax refunds or have wages withheld.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program, and Healthy Families is its version of the State Children's Health Insurance Program for children from low- and moderate-income households.
The $12 billion plan would require contributions from employers, individuals, insurers and medical providers. HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt has agreed to support an increase in Medicaid funds to help pay for the proposal (California Healthline, 3/22).
Schwarzenegger said he anticipates action on prison reform within the next two weeks. "I think after that, when (legislators) come back from the spring break, we'll have health care" reform, the governor said (Sacramento Bee, 3/23).
Also at the conference, Schwarzenegger called on voters and media organizations to use California's earlier presidential primary in 2008 to push candidates to discuss health care and other domestic issues of interest to the state. The governor said candidates should be asked how they would pay for expanded care coverage, as well as whether candidates would seek to increase federal funds to California (Martin, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/23).
Text and video of the governor's comments are on his Web site.