California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Jan. 8 proposed toextendhealthcoveragetonearlyall of California’s 6.5 million uninsured, promising to spread the cost among businesses,individuals,hospitals,doctors, insurers and government.
The plan contains elements that arelikelytoprovokeoppositionfrom a wide range of powerful interests, including doctors, hospitals and insurers, as well as employers and unions.Butitalsocontainsincentives for each of them, the Associated Press reports.
All children, regardless of their immigration status, would be covered through an expansion of the state and federal Healthy Families program.
“Idon’tthinkitisaquestionoradebate if they ought to be covered. [. . .] Thefederalcourtshavemadethatdecision — that no one can be turned away,” Mr. Schwarzenegger said. “The question really isn’t to treat them or not to treat them. The question really is how can you treat them in the most cost-effective way.”
UnderMr.Schwarzenegger’splan, allCalifornianswouldberequiredto haveinsurance,althoughthepoorest wouldbesubsidized.Businesseswith 10 or more employees would have to offer insurance to their workers or pay 4 percent of their payroll into a statefund.Smallerbusinesseswould be exempt.
Also, insurers would no longer be allowed to deny coverage to people because of their medical problems.