Our former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has been on a book tour, with lots of questions about his personal life, and columns questioning the content and motives for the book.
But he eventually also talks about his time as Governor and his policy views on these talk shows. His recent visit to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart even touched on health care policy–and talking about his 2007-08 effort to reform health care, even with an individual mandate.
In the extended interview footage, Jon Stewart basically gets a crazy-making taste for what it was like to be a consumer health advocate during the Schwarzenegger era–troubled by his simplification of issues, intrigued that he was willing to break some party orthodoxy (even though he stayed an anti-tax, corporate conservative), finding he came to some positive reforms but from a very different perspective and logic, but still not able to reconcile huge contradictions and inconsistencies–which led to tough and often weird negotiations, and the failure of some of his goals in either passage or execution.
That said, I will admit that my one time on The Daily Show was during the recall, to wrongly call Schwarzenegger’s candidacy “a distraction.” In fairness, I was right that we had no idea what his Administration would mean for health care–even from year to year, where he was wildly inconsistent.
In the end, as Governor Schwarzenegger says in the interview, he adopted and embraced the Affordable Care Act as a GOP Governor, signing the first-in-the-nation bill to establish an Exchange, begin an early expansion of Medicaid through Low Income Health Programs, and otherwise start to bring in the benefits of Obamacare that Californians are enjoying today.