2007 The Year of Health Care Reform

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Oct. 20, 2006

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to do something on health care in 2007 – something big.  His office has recently announced the formation of a bipartisan health care team that will be responsible for the formation of a broad policy and outreach to stakeholders:

Kim Belshe (R)  - Secretary, Health and Human Services
Dan Dunmoyer (R) – Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor
Daniel Zingale (D) – Chief of Staff, Office of First Lady Maria Shriver
Herb Schultz (D) – Senior Health Policy Advisor, Office of the Governor
John Ramey (R) – Senior Health Policy Consultant, Office of the Governor
Richard Figueroa (D) – Senior Health Policy Consultant, Dept. of Managed Health Care

This impressive team of advisors is already reaching out to stakeholders to open a dialogue on the problems with California’s health care system.  Governor Schwarzenegger would like to have a framework for reform developed in time for his 2007 State of the State speech in January – just three months away.

While the timeframe seems short, at least we know the general direction the Governor is headed by analyzing his veto message for the "Fair Share Health Care Act", SB 1414 (Carole Migden, D-San Francisco). In it he asked for "a new paradigm that addresses affordability, shared responsibility and the promotion of a healthy living." 

The Governor also said that he wants to a see a system that "builds on existing private and public system" and "recognizes the shared responsibility of individuals, employers and government." This indicates that he is not a fan of a single payer health care system that outlaws private health insurance and substitutes a new state bureaucracy. 

Manufacturers often voluntarily offer health insurance benefits as part of compensation.  It is in their interest to ensure that employers and employees are treated fairly in any reforms of the health care system.  For that reason, the CMTA board has made healthcare one of the top issues for the association in 2007.  A task force has been convened to develop principles to guide us in the coming debate.

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