Democrats have taken a couple of big steps toward Schwarzenegger. They’ve agreed to his mandate that all Californians be required to have insurance, and they’ve decreased the amount employers contribute. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez says there’s new momentum:
“The tumblers are now falling into place. You’re hearing movement that when matched with some similar movement by the Governor, will finally unlock healthcare reform in California.”
Democrats would go to the ballot to pay for the plan. Funding would include hospital and employer fees, and a two-dollar per pack tax on cigarettes. Republican Assembly Leader Mike Villines says he doesn’t think that will fly with voters:
"Californians, it doesn’t matter who you tax or what you tax, they just don’t want more taxes, and this is a plan swimming in taxes.”
Schwarzenegger administration officials call the Democrats’ plan very encouraging – but say there are still details to be worked out.
Nunez says the full Assembly could be a vote on the plan by the end of the month.