Health Care Plan Still In Limbo
It’s still unclear whether the health care deal worked out by Governor Schwarzenegger and the Democratic Assembly Leader will make it to the Senate floor.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
A Senate committee held a marathon hearing on the 14 billion dollar measure today Wednesday but put off a vote until Monday.
At least two Democrats on the committee are expected to reject the bill – which could kill it. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez is a co-author.
“For anybody to oppose this bill who believes in progressive change and believes in health care reform, ought to be ashamed of themselves.”
Lawmakers in both parties expressed concern about a new report by the non-partisan legislative analyst. Elizabeth Hill found the program to expand health coverage to most Californians could be more than a billion in the red within five years. She says that could put pressure on the state’s already ailing budget:
“Ultimately the state general fund would be the ultimate backstop.”
Given the tough economic times, Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata – also a co-author of the bill - was pessimistic:
“You don’t instill public confidence by doing things that they don’t understand and they don’t think is a high priority and I don’t think anybody believes anything other than the economy, the economy, the economy.”
The plan would require most Californians to have insurance. It would be funded by a tobacco tax increase and a fee on hospitals and employers. If the measure does eventually pass the Senate, voters would be asked to approve the funding for it in November.