Posted on October 1, 2008

Gov. Schwarzenegger again vetoes single payer bill


Schwarzenegger vetoes universal health care

By Aurelio Rojas
The Sacramento Bee
September 30, 2008

For the second time in three years, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday vetoed legislation that would have established a government-run universal health care system.

Senate Bill 840 by Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, would have set up a single-payer system in which the state would assume the role that private insurance companies now play.



By Anthony Wright
Health Access Weblog
October 1, 2008

Some of the bills vetoed:

SB 840 (Kuehl) SINGLE PAYER: Would establish a process to create a single-payer health care system in California that would enable all residents to have health coverage.

SB 973 (Simitian) PUBLIC INSURER: Would create a statewide public insurer, connecting existing regional, county-based health care plans, to compete with private health care plans and provide consumers more affordable coverage choices.

SB 1440 (Kuehl) CAPPING ADMINISTRATION AND PROFIT: Would set a minimum medical loss ratio — requiring every insurer to spend at least 85 percent of premiums on patient care.

AB 2 (Dymally) HIGH-RISK POOL: Would have reformed the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Program (MRMIP), which provides coverage for “un-insureables” who have “pre-existing conditions.” Efforts would make the high risk pool more affordable and available and eliminate the annual $75,000 cap on benefits.

AB 1945 (De La Torre) INDEPENDENT REVIEW: Would establish an independent review process if an insurer wants to rescind coverage, and raises the standard in existing law so that coverage can only be rescinded if a consumer willfully misrepresents his health history.

AB 1887 (Beall) MENTAL HEALTH PARITY: Would require health plans to provide coverage for all diagnosable mental illnesses.

AB 1962 (De La Torre) MATERNITY COVERAGE: Would require all individual insurance policies to cover maternity services.


By Don McCanne, MD

This was Gov. Schwarzenegger’s year for comprehensive healthcare reform in California. By the end of this year all Californians were going to have affordable health care.

He previously vetoed Sen. Kuehl’s single payer legislation, dismissing it as socialized medicine. He then embarked on a “post partisan” process of bringing all stakeholders together to create a comprehensive model of reform with “shared responsibility.” The extensive negotiations resulted in a legislative product that neither the Republicans not the Democrats could support, and it died in committee.

Many legislators then wanted to separate out some of the beneficial features of the package and introduce them as individual bills. Gov. Schwarzenegger had said that the delicate compromises necessitated by the political process required that the legislators accept either the entire package or none of it. He stated that he would veto individual measures because they served some interests and not others. He has proven that, in this matter at least, he is a man of his word.

He was given a second opportunity to approve a plan that would accomplish his stated goal: affordable health care for everyone. He once again vetoed Sheila Kuehl’s single payer bill, placing his personal ideology above the health of the people.

He did sign a bill requiring restaurant chains to post the number of calories of food items on their menus. Not much for the Year of Health Reform.