Coming into the final month…

Steve Maviglio of the California Majority Report (and Speaker Nunez’s office) paints the picture for how health reform can happen–but only if the Governor makes his move now.

Let me be more pointed: The Governor’s plan requires a 2/3 vote. The current stalemate proves that we aren’t going to get the 2/3 vote for the budget–even one with significant cuts–much less health reforms that the Republicans are on record opposing.

If the Governor wants health reform on his desk, he needs a majority-vote vehicle. AB8 meets the overall “shared responsibility” framework of the Governor’s plan–but is different mostly because of the contraints of what is allowed under a “fee” rather than a “tax,” rather than any ideological differences.

[In fact, there’s lots of elements–such as raising Medi-Cal rates or expanding Medi-Cal for low-income adults who just don’t have children at home–that Health Access wants, that the Governor wants, and the authors of AB8 want, but aren’t included because it’s hard to raise the money without a tax that would require a 2/3 vote. Legislative leaders have said that AB8 would be more expansive, if not for the hurdle of the 2/3 vote requirement.

Some of the differences aren’t philosophical, but practical–about what can pass against the Republican blockade against taxes. If the Democratic legislative leaders wanted to put forward a bill with a 2/3 vote, they already did that–SB840 with its financing component.]

So if the Governor wants changes to AB8, he needs to either make sure they are doable under a majority-vote context, or find the six Republican Assemblymembers and two Republican Senators to vote for the overall bill.

[That includes the money for higher Medi-Cal rates or the subsidies to make his individual mandate even remotely workable.]

That’s the Governor’s choice right now. Will he oppose his fourth health reform and expansion proposal in a row (employer mandate in 2004, children’s coverage in 2005, single-payer in 2006, shared responsibility in 2007?), or will he work with the folks that are willing to work with him to pass major health reform, this year?

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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