California Senate Delays Vote On Health Care Overhaul Measure

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California Senate PresidentPro Tempore Don Perata (D) has decided to delay until Monday a vote oncompromise health care reform legislation (ABX1 1) negotiated by Gov. ArnoldSchwarzenegger (R) and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D), state Senate HealthCommittee Chair Sheila Kuehl (D) announced on Thursday during a hearing on thebill, the Ventura County Star reports (Herdt, VenturaCounty Star, 1/24).

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During the hearing, several Democratic lawmakers expressed concern over areport released this week by the state LegislativeAnalyst's Office(Ainsworth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/24). The report found thatdepending on alternative financial scenarios, the health care overhaul could beadequately financed, or it could result in a $4 billion budget shortfall withinfive years (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report,1/23). Perata said the delay will give lawmakers time to study the findings ofthe report (Ventura County Star, 1/24).

Nunez told the committee, "The soundness of this plan is inevitablystrong," adding, "We have an independent funding stream that will notimpact the budget" (Zapler, San JoseMercury News,1/24). Senate Democrats plan to meet to discuss the legislation before Monday'sscheduled vote (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/24).

Perata's decision to postpone the committee's vote came one day after Sen.Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), a member of the panel, announced he would notvote for the bill. Kuehl previously has stated her opposition to the measure(Rojas, Sacramento Bee, 1/24). Perata has the option ofreplacing committee members to secure enough votes for passage of the bill (VenturaCounty Star, 1/24). However, Perata on Wednesday said he is pessimisticabout the prospects of passing the plan, according to the Mercury News.He said that "it's very hard for people to come to grips with" theidea that the timing may not be right to pass the bill. "When you have toexplain all those nuances to people who are losing their jobs and theirhomes," Perata said, "it's not a good position to be in" (SanJose Mercury News, 1/24).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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