Schwarzenegger’s Criticism of Reform Bill Sparking Fierce Debate
Reaction to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) criticism of health care reform legislation before Congress in his state of the state address has caused a stir on both sides of the political aisle, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Schwarzenegger urged California's congressional delegation to vote against the bill unless provisions more favorable to California are added to the measure.
The Republican National Committee promptly used the governor's comments in a press release urging the defeat of the bill (Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/8).
Meanwhile, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) fired back at Schwarzenegger, with Boxer saying that voting against health care reform legislation would not be in California's best interests (Felde, "KPCC News," KPCC, 1/7).
Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said he disagreed with the governor's conclusions but agreed that members of Congress needed to be more mindful of state costs for health care reform.
Health Access Executive Director Anthony Wright used stronger language, asserting that Schwarzenegger's criticism of the bill was "totally hypocritical" given the governor's own efforts to overhaul health care in California in 2007 (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/8).
The governor's comments prompted Bruce Cain, a UC-Berkeley political science professor and head of the UC Washington Center, to conclude that Schwarzenegger was speaking to the Republican base in hopes of rallying support for a later run for mayor of Los Angeles or for the U.S. Senate ("KPCC News," KPCC, 1/7).
Schwarzenegger's Office Responds
Aaron McLear, Schwarzenegger's press secretary, said the governor's positions have been "completely consistent" throughout Congress' debate on health care reform, pointing out that the governor repeatedly has voiced concerns about costs states would face for proposed Medicaid expansions (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/8).
"The tone and substance of" the governor's comments against health care reform legislation "were irresponsible," a Sacramento Bee editorial states.
According to the editorial, the House bill is more favorable to California than the Senate bill, despite Feinstein and Boxer's success securing provisions that would have the federal government fully fund the cost of the Medicaid expansion for the first three years.The Bee concludes that "it would be unfortunate if Schwarzenegger's own commitment to health reform, and willingness to negotiate a fair deal, has fallen by the wayside" (Sacramento Bee, 1/8). 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.