Forget Johnson, Brown, Warren. FDR!

Governor Schwarzenegger has been accused of trying to channel previous California Governors before. He’s now set his sights higher, now invoking FDR as an icon. The Governor even invokes the WPA (while suggesting budget cuts on the other hand. Hmmm.) Here’s the section of the State of the State on health care:

This last year, we took on other tough issues – the very contentious issue of prison reform and rehabilitation, the world’s first low carbon fuel standard and the most comprehensive health care reform in the nation.

Let me explain why health care reform is so important.

Here in California, the health care system is collapsing under its weight, its costs, its gaping holes, its injustices. Millions of people can’t afford – or can’t get – health care.

* Our emergency rooms are crowded or closed. 60 closed in the last ten years.
* Medi-Cal patients are being turned away at hospitals.
* Businesses and families are experiencing double-digit increases in health care costs.
* Medical bills are the number one reason people file for personal bankruptcy.
* All this is weakening our economy and contributing to our budget deficit.

But let me make this more personal and real – through a true story about a 51-year-old, self-employed San Diego man named Todd.

Todd had been on his wife’s insurance plan, but after a divorce, he found a policy with a well-known company. Five months later, he started feeling tired, and soon learned he had lymphoma.

The insurance company then went back through all his records looking for a reason to cut him off. They pointed to a minor knee problem unrelated to the cancer. They noted that he now weighed less than he did when he applied for the insurance.

Well, of course, he did. He was now sick with cancer. But they cut him off. One month after he got sick, the company cancelled his insurance. Todd died eight months later.

We are taking action so that what happened to Todd will not happen to any other Californian.

Now, I understand the concern that we have a deficit, and that our plan is too daring, too bold, too expensive. But sometimes you have to be daring, because the need is so great.

You want daring?

FDR didn’t ignore the problems of the Depression because times were tough. He addressed those problems in big, visionary ways because times were tough. He saw the problems and he acted on behalf of the people and the nation.

For example, to give America jobs, he created the WPA, which built 650,000 miles of roads, 78,000 bridges and 125,000 buildings. All these things we are still enjoying today.

We, too, must act boldly on behalf of the people and the state. And I want to thank the Assembly for its action on health care. When the Senate finishes its deliberations, I am confident the people of California in November will approve the most comprehensive health care reform in the nation.

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