The governor’s plan, which he first unveiled in January, would require all Californians to purchase some sort of health insurance. This mandate would reduce the “hidden tax” that the insured are charged by insurance companies to cover the cost of emergency care for the uninsured, Schwarzenegger said in a statement.
The governor’s plan would also levy a 4% tax on hospitals and a 2% tax on physicians. These fees would in turn go toward an increase in the Medi-Cal rate the state pays providers.
The California Hospitals Assn., of which Glendale Memorial Hospital, Glendale Adventist Medical Center and Verdugo Hills Hospital are members, lodged its support for the governor’s plan last week.
Other providers say the governor’s plan to require all Californians to purchase some sort of health plan would unduly burden low-income families.
“One of the things that we see when you’re looking at low-income Californians, people who cannot afford care, even $3-a-month-per-child coverage is cost-prohibitive for a lot of our families that we serve,” said Camille Levee, executive director of Glendale Healthy Kids, who said she opposed both proposed reform measures. “Any time you make anything mandatory . . . you buy the least you can and hope for the best.”
As lawmakers try to iron out a difference, there may be no compromise suitable to all, but the pressure is on to implement some kind of tangible reform, said Scott Hauge, founder of Small Business California, a nonprofit trade association.
“The special session ups the ante, because if you call a special session and nothing comes out of it, it’s kind of embarrassing,” he said. “It just puts the pressure up on both sides to come to a compromise.”