Healthcare reform defeated

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Feb. 1, 2008 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Last Friday the Senate Health Committee held a marathon hearing to consider ABx1 1 (Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles), the Speaker and Governor’s healthcare reform proposal.   The hearing concluded without a vote – Chairwoman Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) indicating she did not want to take a vote on the measure after hours and be subject to criticism regarding transparency for an after-hours vote.
 
The Committee reconvened on Monday to vote on the measure and the bill failed to gain the requisite votes to pass on to the Senate Appropriations Committee.  The bill was only able to garner one favorable vote – Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles).  The remaining Committee members either abstained or voted against the bill.
 
Members of the Committee voiced deep concerns and doubts about the plan, many of which have grown since the measure was approved in the Assembly last month.   The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s report, released last week, questioned some of the plan's fiscal assumptions – suggesting they are too optimistic.  Furthermore, many Senate Democrats expressed concerns about a grand expansion of healthcare at a time when the state is facing a $14.5-billion budget shortfall that may require large cuts in existing healthcare even before the plan is put into place. 
 
Despite his ability to do so, the Speaker did not ask that the Committee grant the bill reconsideration, noting the clear message sent by the Committee members’ votes. Furthermore, the bill was to be fast-tracked to meet the deadline for inclusion on the November 2008 ballot, which it will now not meet. 

Although ABx1 1 is defeated, we can expect to see continued efforts to reform healthcare as the year progresses.
 
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