Vote on Democrats’ Health Care Reform Plan Postponed in California
Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles) has postponed a vote in the Assembly on a legislative Democrats' health care reform plan (ABX1 1) until December, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports. Núñez and Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) are carrying the bill.
The Assembly vote was originally scheduled for Nov. 26 but will now occur on either Dec. 5 or Dec. 6.
Núñez postponed the vote to continue negotiating a compromise on health care reform with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) (Sacramento Bee, "Capitol Alert," 11/20).
Last week, the Assembly Health Committee approved the plan, which more closely resembles the governor's health care plan than an earlier Democratic proposal did. However, differences remain over employer contributions, how to finance the proposed coverage expansion and other issues.
The Democrats favor a tobacco tax increase of $2 per pack, while Schwarzenegger has proposed leasing the state lottery to a private operator.
The funding mechanism would be packaged as a ballot initiative that would go before voters in the November 2008 election (California Healthline, 11/15).
"We must act responsibly when crafting health care reforms, making sure not to hurt our economy or future state budgets," Assembly member Roger Niello (R-Fair Oaks), a member of the Assembly Republican Working Group on Health Care Reform, writes in a Bee opinion piece. "But sadly that's exactly what Californians will see if Democrats succeed in passing their big government health plan," Niello writes.
Niello argues that "California simply cannot afford to pass fiscally irresponsible health care reforms," adding, "Fiscal discipline must be an integral part in reforming health care."
"If we take the time to do this right, I am confident that we can improve health care for the better for all Californians," Niello concludes (Niello, Sacramento Bee, 11/21).