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Monday, November 20, 2006
Arnold makes eyes at Mass.
An overt admirer of the health care plan and legislation Gov. Mitt Romney was able to hammer out with the Democratic legislature in Massachusetts, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is making a priority -- perhaps his number one priority -- of creating a plan to increase the reach and decrease the cost of health insurance in the nation's largest state. California, no surprise, won't be offering a single-payer program; it will be looking to expand coverage through "shared responsibility"; in other words, employers, patients, and the state will all be required to pay more, as in Mass.
As noted in this article in the Los Angeles Times, Schwarzenegger is running into some troubles and is bound to run into more:
Hospitals, doctors, insurers and consumer groups are already scrambling to present their own proposals and to blunt alternatives, such as efforts to regulate insurance rates -- anathema to insurers -- or redirect hospital subsidies.
But the bigger problem may be that "adopting a Massachusetts-style plan could cost as much as $9.4 billion more than California now spends on healthcare." In a state running about a $5 billion deficit. Massachusetts was lucky in this sense. They had funds already earmarked for insuring the poor; they had fewer uninsured; and they had a legendary system of hospitals and clinics. It will be interesting to see how far Arnold is able to go in emulating the Mass. model, which the whole nation is watching along with him.