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Gov. to seek insurance for all children
By Jordan Rau
Times Staff Writer
9:35 AM PST, January 4, 2007
SACRAMENTO Ã¢â‚¬â€ Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will propose that all Californian children, including those in the state illegally, be guaranteed medical insurance as part of the health-care overhaul he intends to unveil next week, according to officials familiar with the plan.
If enacted by the Legislature, his proposal would affect about 763,000 children who now lack insurance. Although the administration has not revealed details of how it would pay for such a program, officials estimate that extending insurance to all children could cost the state as much as $400 million a year.
That would be a small piece of Schwarzenegger’s stated goal: to ensure medical coverage for all of the 6.5 million Californians who now have none. Experts say that could cost upward of $10 billion a year.
If successful, the governor’s effort to cover all children would be a substantial political feat. Only a few states guarantee coverage for all those under 18. Schwarzenegger himself vetoed a measure to cover all children in 2005, complaining that lawmakers offered no way to pay for it.
California’s Republican legislators, who blocked a more modest effort to extend health-care coverage last year, are sure to rebel against a plan that includes children of illegal immigrants.
Schwarzenegger is scheduled to announce his full health plan Monday. His office is still finalizing many parts of that package, but aides have made clear that it will be an ambitious effort to restrain health-care costs and reduce the state’s uninsured population.
All sectors of the health-care industry, including hospitals, insurers, doctors, patients, businesses and government, would pay some of the costs under Schwarzenegger’s plan. People familiar with the proposal say that it includes new requirements for businesses to cover employees, though the details were unclear. The more cost shouldered by employers and workers, the less the state would have to spend.
What can I say?Ã‚Â
I love the idea of extending health care coverage to those Californians who don’t have it.Ã‚Â It is a very human and decent thing to do.
And it will be strongly condemned by the California Conservative Right who are pretty ticked off that the Governor seems to no longer consult with the Republicans in the legislature before making deals with the Democrats in the legislature.Ã‚Â The Republican party just doesn’t have the clout in the Governor’s Office it thought it would get when Arnold was first elected.
ow a populist governor like Schwartzenegger should just make it official and add a “D” next to his party affilitation.Ã‚Â He’s find it a lot easier to make his agenda a reality.Ã‚Â