The Proposals Are In, Let the Debate Begin
If California's discussion on health care reform were a game of roulette, the croupier might have called "All bets final" this week. Assembly Republicans , who had held onto their chips until now, stepped up to join their Senate counterparts, Gov. Schwarzenegger and Legislative Democrats at the table with their own package of legislation -- one that seeks to provide some form of health insurance coverage to about two-thirds of California's uninsured.
Assembly Minority Leader Mike Villines (R-Fresno) told the Los Angeles Times that GOP lawmakers in California's lower house saw themselves as the "last line of defense" against proposals others have offered to rework California's health care system, suggesting that his caucus' proposal has a better chance of being enacted than any of the other ideas that have been floated.
Meanwhile, the governor's plan to insure everyone in California got an unexpected boost on Wednesday when HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt agreed to back Schwarzenegger's request for $3.45 billion in additional Medi-Cal funding -- about a quarter of the plan's overall price tag.
While stakeholders wait to see how all of this shakes out, the Legislature took action on bills including measures to tweak the Medical Board of California and institute new required benefits for insurers.