Schwarzenegger Turns Away Universal Health Proposal

September 7, 2006 ( - Calling the proposal "socialized medicine," California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill that would have made the state the primary provider of health care insurance to all Golden State residents.

Under the legislation (SB 840) by State Senator Sheila Kuehl, private companies would be barred from selling health plan and health insurance contracts for services provided by the state (See CA Assembly Pushes Forward Health Care Measure ).

“Socialized medicine is not the solution to our state’s health care problems,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement on his Web site. “This bill would require an extraordinary redirection of public and private funding by creating a vast new bureaucracy to take over health insurance and medical care for Californians – a serious and expensive mistake.  Such a program would cost the state billions and lead to significant new taxes on individuals and businesses, without solving the critical issue of affordability.  I won’t jeopardize the economy of our state for such a purpose.”

Schwarzengger asserted that he would be developing his own health care reform plan that he said would rely on efforts from both government and the private sector. His proposal, the Governor claimed, “supports cost containment and recognizes the shared responsibility of individuals, employers and government.”

Proponents argue that the single-payer system would boost health care coverage and that the current system diverts billions of dollars from health care services to administrative costs.

In April, lawmakers in Massachusetts approved legislation that requires all state residents to obtain health care insurance by July 1, 2007 (See New Bay State Rules Would Excuse Most Cos. from Per-Worker Health Coverage Fee ).

The California bill the governor vetoed is here