Schwarzenegger Urges Congress To Pay for Medicaid Expansions
On Tuesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) sent Congress a letter reiterating his support for health care reform and warning that states should not bear undue costs from a proposed Medicaid expansion, the Sacramento Bee reports (Hotakainen, Sacramento Bee, 10/28).
In his letter, Schwarzenegger called for Congress to fully fund a proposed Medicaid expansion and any accompanying health care provider rate increases.
The governor said that if the federal government forces states to bear the costs of expanding Medicaid, California would need to pay out an additional $1 billion per year. He warned that additional funding obligations also would force states to cut funding from other areas (Woo, Wall Street Journal, 10/28).
Schwarzenegger said that if Congress does not fully fund the federal mandates, it should grant states more power to set rules on benefits and eligibility.
Support for an Individual Mandate
In his letter, Schwarzenegger also expressed support for a so-called "individual mandate" that would require all residents to purchase health insurance coverage.
He also said the government should offer public subsidies to help low-income individuals purchase coverage.
A spokesperson for the governor said Schwarzenegger does not support a federal public health insurance option and instead favors state-based insurance plans.
California as a Model
The governor also suggested that Congress could replicate some of California's health care achievements by:
- Changing medical liability rules;
- Encouraging healthier lifestyle choices; and
- Launching anti-tobacco campaigns (Sacramento Bee, 10/28).