Tuesday, August 29, 2006

California may get Universal Health Care


The Democratic-controlled Legislature is on the verge of sending Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a bill that would create a state-run universal health care system, testing him on an issue that voters rate as one of their top concerns in this election year.

On a largely party-line 43-30 vote, the Assembly approved a bill by state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, that would eliminate private medical insurance plans and establish a statewide health insurance system that would provide coverage to all Californians. The state Senate has already approved the plan once and is expected this week to approve changes that the Assembly made to the bill.

If he vetoes SB840, the governor will be reminded of his decision come election day in November, Kuehl said.

"I hope that the people of California will hang the albatross of bad health care around the governor's neck," she said.

"SB840 creates a system of comprehensive health insurance benefits for all Californians that guarantees free choice of doctors and hospitals," Kuehl said. "It creates access for all Californians by steeply reducing administrative overhead and emphasizing preventative and primary care instead of endlessly cutting coverage and access to care or increasing consumer spending."

Republicans and insurance groups oppose the bill, saying it will create an inefficient government bureaucracy.

As opposed to greedy inefficient insurance companies, I suppose?

California likes to lead the way. This would be a good way not only to do the right thing but to help figure out how to do it nationwide.

Sign the bill, Ah-nold.

Just as an aside, State Senator Sheila Kuehl used to play Zelda on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. You have to be really old to remember that one...

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