Meet the Russert

Governor Schwarzenegger was on Meet the Press this morning. It wasn’t Tim Russert’s toughest interview, with very few of his trademark”gothcha” questions, and more about his advice for Republicans in D.C.

On health care, it was notable that he spotlighted his work on prescription drug prices twice, along with the minimum wage, global warming, and infrastructure. The full transcript is available at MSNBC’s website, at:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032608/

Whlie he didn’t go into detail, he did make some comments about health care of note. While he reiterated statements made previously, he made the stakes clear, especially on the goal of covering all Californians, ” fixing our health care problems to insure everybody that is uninsured.” It’s a good, clear statement to hold him to in the next year.

“This year is the year where we go—this coming year—where Democrats and Republicans are going to work together to fix our health care problem. First of all, we have to bring down the health care costs, we have to make it more affordable to provide health care. Number two, we’ve got to insure everybody, because we have 6.7 million people that are uninsured, and we’re working right now on the various different ideas, we’re going to bring those ideas together, I’m going to present this in my State of the State address. But this is the next big challenge. Look, if we could face the challenge and fix our infrastructure problem and approve a $37 billion infrastructure package, we can also solve the health care problem. We’re going to solve all of those things. Democrats and Republicans are very determined in California to say, “We have certain problems that have been problems for decades, and we’re going to go out now and fix it.” And that is what is so wonderful about it, bringing both of the parties together.

He did not say how he would acheive this goal, but he might want to be more flexible than his other statements. He noted that the voters opposed the various initiatives that included a tax, including, he mentioned in a gratuitous remark, the measure by the California Nurses Association. Yet in the same interview, the Governor stated that when voters rejected his initiatives, it wasn’t that the content was bad… it was “the approach.” Most analysts concluded the determining factor was that every initiative with a funded opposition lost.

In fact, the closest measure was the tobacco tax, which got 48% despite $60 million spent against it, and whose opposition campaign didn’t even oppose the notion of a tax, but rather focused on ancillary provisions for hospitals that were portrayed as anti-consumer (such as an anti-trust exemption). If the Governor is trying to read the mood of the public about revenues for health care, he may want to take a closer look at the election results.

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

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