Governor Schwarzenegger teamed with Fabian Nunez and other Assembly Dems to come up with a sweeping healthcare measure that would insure 3.7 million Californians.
The AP writes:
Of the 5.1 million people who are considered permanently uninsured in California, 3.7 million would be covered under the plan, according to Nunez's office. That includes children from low-income families, employees at small businesses that cannot afford to provide health insurance, and Californians with pre-existing medical conditions who have trouble finding coverage.
Insurance companies would have to provide policies to everyone and could no longer refuse coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
The Assembly leader struck the deal last week with Schwarzenegger, a Republican who made health care reform his top policy priority this year and broke ranks with his party to get it done.
I have to give credit to Fabian Nunez. I've given him shit for a long, long time. I have long found him superficial, arrogant, overly ambitious, hyperpartisan, and incompetent, and most folks I know agreed with me. But being able to pull the California's Assembly's hyperuber-Democratic lefties into line behind this sweeping compromise is a true feat.
Arnold also deserves props for coming to his senses and sticking true to his 'post-partisan era' mantra. While I don't necessarily agree with it, I find his emphasis on healthcare and global warming to be inspiring - mostly because it's coming from a Republican.
So props to California's government actually working for a change! Now we'll just have to wait and see how this works out come November 2008 when it's on the ballot as a referendum. Republican legislators voted against it along party lines, so it will eventually be clear who carries greater heft in the California GOP - Arnold or the Republican assemblymen and senators.