The debate over why health reform failed in California sparked up again following the release of a Field Poll in late April that found that nearly three-quarters of California respondents supported Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan.
Following the poll’s release, Schwarzenegger told
the Associated Press he’s not giving up and will push his $14-billion plan forward. Despite his optimism, most
wonks in Sacramento have called it dead at least though 2009.
In a recent column, Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, diverts any blame for the reform’s failure from the vehemently opposed single-payer coalition, which she leads from her perch as chair of the all-powerful Senate Health Committee and author of the single-payer bill SB 840. Kuehl blames reform’s failure the governor’s unwillingness to challenge the insurance companies."In fact, the Governor’s plan appropriately fell," Kuehl writes, "because of the Governor’s own reluctance to make the difficult policy decisions necessary for the plan to be in any way affordable to the state as well as to businesses and individuals, but which would have stirred up strong opposition from insurance companies."
Well, not everyone agrees.
SPeter Harbage, a Sacramento consultant and Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress who worked closely with the governor’s team to craft the reform package, told THCB that the Field Poll confirms Californians support for the governor’s plan and skepticism of "government-run" insurance.
"It’s disappointing that Sen. Kuehl has become so focused on whether or not single payer is ‘winning’ that she seems to have forgotten that all of us are losing under the current system," Harbage said. "We need less political competition and more progress in covering the uninsured and containing skyrocketing prices."
THCB ran several posts on California’s attempt at health reform over the past year. See also this post by analyst Bart Mangoven when the plan was first announced and this post by Brian Klepper predicting the plan’s failure.
Here’s the 108-page Senate Health Committee Analysis of the reform bill.