Monday, January 08, 2007

Arnold Wants Universal Health Care in CA

As mentioned here last week, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is moving the state toward state-run health insurance. Initially it was reported that the governor wanted to insure every child -- including those here illegally -- in California.

However, as reported by Bloomberg News (subject link), the governor is actually seeking universal health care for California.

This kind of plan has already been decisively rejected by California voters. Not to mince words, but it's a socialist job killer.

Part of the plan emulates that supported by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, which interferes with the free market by requiring every citizen to have health insurance. (That plan is one reason I don't support Romney in his quest for the presidency -- his instincts have too often been liberal, but he is bending conservative in areas such as abortion in his quest for the Republican nomination.)

Not only would businesses and individual citizens face fines and fees if they don't comply with Governor Schwarzenegger's proposed plan, but doctors and hospitals would be charged what amounts to a "revenue tax" to help support the costs of the plan. Arnold masks this new tax by calling it a "coverage dividend."

The governor believes this will be less expensive than the state's current costs for covering the uninsured. But, given that he plans to cover those children here illegally, I suspect that he hasn't even considered addressing the related matter of illegal immigration, which has strained our state infrastructure, including health care, to the brink. Illegal aliens using hospitals as their primary care facilities is one reason the state's hospitals are overburdened and underpaid.

The governor says, since illegal aliens must legally be treated at hospitals, that the question isn't whether to treat them but how to pay for it. But what could he be doing to work with the federal government to reduce the original problem and in turn reduce the strain on the state budget?

He's also not addressing what this will do to the marketplace in general -- if you're a business, would you hire the tenth worker that would force you to comply with the insurance plan? And will businesses decide to pay the payroll tax instead of providing insurance, thereby forcing employees into state-run health plans? This is exactly what California voters rejected in 2004. Strangely enough, Arnold at that time also rejected the state plan and agreed with the voters.

Instead of Hillarycare, we're now looking at Arnoldcare.

After much inward debate, I voted for Arnold last November as the better of two unpleasant options, but I'm now regretting having given him my vote.

Tuesday Update: Captain Ed weighs in.


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