Sunday, September 24, 2006

Arnold Says "NO!"

California Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger finally pointed to the line he was unwilling to cross during this election season. Lately, he had been moving to the center after three years of following the pro-business program he was most comfortable with. This is California, and it is election time, so the move to the center was fairly predictable. However, he was not willing to commit the state to a universal health care plan. From the Sacramento Bee:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday vetoed a bill that would have created a universal health care system run by the state.

Senate Bill 840, written by state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, would have abolished the role of private insurance companies in health care. Instead, the state would have covered everyone. Theoretically, the system would have been financed by taxes on individuals and businesses that would have replaced the health premiums that both now pay to private insurers. Doctors and hospitals would have remained private.

In his veto message Friday, the Republican governor said government-run health care was not a solution. About 6 million Californians are uninsured.

"I want to see a new paradigm that addresses affordability, shared responsibility and the promotion of healthy living," Schwarzenegger wrote. "Single-payer, government-run health care does none of this."

Apparently Governor Schwartzenegger is unfamiliar with the plan just approved by another Republican governor, this one in Massachusetts. While the California plan was different than the Massachusetts one in several respects, the basic idea was the same: cover everyone, and do so by adding a tax that is roughly equivalent to the monies paid by individuals and businesses to pay for health insurance. In the long run, both businesses and individuals would benefit because the state would be in a better position to control health care costs than would even large businesses. People would be covered and would be more apt to seek care immediately, thus cutting the costs of care and losing fewer hours from work. Companies wouldn't have the high costs of insurance coverage affecting their bottom lines and would have a more productive work force.

The Governator's arguments that this would add another large bureaucracy to state government, that it doesn't emphasize "shared responsibility and the promotion of healthy living" are nothing more than a cigar smoke screen. The real reason lies in the fact that one of the most powerful groups in the state is the insurance industry. It is also one of the most generous campaign donors. And that is the real reason Mr. Schwartzenegger wouldn't cross that line.


Blogger dave said...

I wonder... what sort of health plan do they have in Austria?

1:00 PM  

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