Schwarzenegger Strays From GOP Criticism of House Reform Measure
Following the release of the House's merged health care reform legislation (HR 3962), Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) struck a different note than his Republican colleagues and reiterated his support for a national health care overhaul, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports.
Schwarzenegger -- who was in Washington, D.C., to accept two awards -- said he believes it is "very important" to enact reforms and extend health coverage to the uninsured (Felde, "KPCC News," KPCC, 10/30).
Earlier this week, the governor sent a letter to Congress expressing his support for national health care reform and warning that states should not bear undue costs from a proposed Medicaid expansion.
In his letter, Schwarzenegger expressed support for an "individual mandate" that would require all residents to purchase health insurance coverage. However, the governor does not support a federal public health insurance option, according to administration officials (California Healthline, 10/28).
The House bill would:
- Create a public health insurance option that would have providers negotiate reimbursement rates directly with the government;
- Enact an individual mandate for residents to purchase insurance;
- Establish an employer mandate for large businesses to provide health benefits;
- Expand eligibility for Medicaid; and
- Offer subsidies for middle-income residents without employer-based coverage (California Healthline, 10/29).
The House reform bill also includes a provision by Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) that would boost California's Medicare reimbursements to address rate inequities among some counties.
Currently, physicians who practice in Santa Cruz and other counties designated as "rural" receive Medicare payments that are significantly lower than reimbursements in neighboring counties.Observers say the rate differences have deterred some primary care providers from accepting Medicare patients or practicing in certain regions (Gumz, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 10/30). 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.