Schwarzenegger Pushing for Health Reform Compromise
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) "has shifted to hardball negotiating in a last-ditch effort" to achieve comprehensive health care reform before the legislative session ends in three weeks, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The governor on Thursday warned Democratic lawmakers that he would veto a health care reform plan that relies solely on employer contributions for financing.
AB 8 by Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles) and Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) would expand health care coverage in large part by requiring employers to spend at least 7.5% of payroll on employee benefits.
Schwarzenegger said, "We have to ... look at the total picture and not limit ourselves to just make it an employer-based health care reform" (Halper, Los Angeles Times, 8/24).
Schwarzenegger's plan to expand coverage to all residents would be financed through mandatory contributions from employers, hospitals and physicians, as well as increased federal funds (California Healthline, 8/23).
Despite his firm stance, the governor "is under pressure to abandon principles" and help reach a compromise with lawmakers, according to the Times.
Núñez this week said the governor would face difficulty passing his proposal because it would require two-thirds majority approval of the Legislature. The Democrats' bill, meanwhile, would require only a simple majority vote.
Adam Mendelsohn, Schwarzenegger's spokesperson, said, "It shouldn't come as a shock that [the governor] is saying he doesn't see health care as just him and the Democrats." He added, "We always said everything was going to be done in a bipartisan way."
If an agreement is not reached, Schwarzenegger said he would consider calling a special session to resume negotiations on a reform bill after the regular session ends (Los Angeles Times, 8/24).
KQED's "This Week in Northern California" on Friday is scheduled to include a report on the prospects for health care reform and other priorities now that a budget is in place ("This Week in Northern California," KQED, 8/24).
Additional details about the segment and a broadcast schedule are available on the program's Web site.
In addition, KPCC's "AirTalk" on Thursday included a discussion about the negotiations between Schwarzenegger and Democratic lawmakers.
Guests on the program included:
- Herb Shultz, health policy adviser to Schwarzenegger; and
- Steve Maviglio, spokesperson for Núñez (Chen, "AirTalk," KPCC, 8/23).
This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.