- CA Healthcare Reform Legislation Stalls in Key Senate Committee
- April 4, 2008 | Author: David Gonzalez
- Law Firm: Greenberg Traurig, LLP - Sacramento Office
The Assembly Speaker’s major healthcare reform measure, AB X1-1, failed passage in the Senate Health Committee, receiving only one “aye” vote. The bill had successfully passed the Assembly and had the support of Governor Schwarzenegger. Funding to implement AB X1-1 was to be placed on the November 2008 ballot for voter approval.
Shortly after the Assembly passed AB X1-1, the President pro Tem of the Senate ordered an analysis from the Legislative Analyst’s Office to review the fiscal impact of the bill in light of the State’s current $14 billion shortfall. The LAO’s report was the focus of the Senate Committee’s eleven-hour hearing. Concerns raised by the LAO report and by members of the Senate Health Committee included:
- AB X1-1 was under-funded and relied on uncertain revenue sources;
- The State’s fiscal crisis jeopardizes any effort to expand health coverage; and
- The bill’s “trigger-on” and “trigger-off” provisions were too vague.
While the Senate President pro Tem was listed as the principal coauthor of AB X1-1, he sent a letter addressed to Governor Schwarzenegger and to the Assembly Speaker, withdrawing his support and stating the bill “would create the third- largest program in state government. Under any circumstances, but especially in light of the state’s $14.5 billion budget shortfall, we have the fiduciary responsibility to approve a health care coverage plan that is both self financing and fiscally sound and a moral responsibility to protect from harm those who already have health care coverage.”
Schwarzenegger had declared 2007 as the year of healthcare reform. However, the defeat of AB X1-1, and California’s existing budget deficit, make it unlikely that there will be any comprehensive healthcare reform legislation passed this year.