Schwarzenegger Says Health Care Reform Will Happen This Year
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Monday at a town hall meeting with AARP members in Pasadena said he expects that the Legislature this year will make health care coverage mandatory and available to all residents, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports.
The governor said, "I am very persistent," adding, "I guarantee this year we will have comprehensive health care and become a model for the rest of the country and for Washington."
The meeting was the launch of a series of forums sponsored by AARP that will focus on overhauling California's health care system. The meeting also marked the beginning of AARP's statewide media campaign to publicize health care reform (Williams, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 5/1).
The organization is not supporting a specific proposal but instead is promoting legislation in general that would reduce health care costs and expand insurance coverage (California Healthline, 4/26).
Schwarzenegger at the meeting said that insured residents under the current system are paying $40.7 billion in higher health care costs to offset the cost of providing care to the uninsured. The current health care system places a financial burden on hospitals and emergency departments, according to the governor.
Schwarzenegger added that his proposal to expand health care coverage to all residents would "create a bigger risk pool" and would not raise premiums because health insurers' administrative costs and profit would be limited to 15% of premiums (San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 5/1).
Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) and Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles), who also have introduced health care reform proposals, were not invited to the AARP meeting, the Pasadena Weekly reports (Piasecki, Pasadena Weekly, 4/26).
The proposals by both legislative leaders last week moved forward in the Senate and Assembly, while Schwarzenegger does not yet have a lawmaker to carry his proposal (California Healthline, 4/26).
Alicia Trost, spokesperson for Perata, said she was unsure whether the event was intended to promote the governor's specific plan or to support health care reform in general.
Charee Gillens, an AARP spokesperson, said the purpose of the meeting was to highlight the need for health care reform (Pasadena Weekly, 4/26).