The Alan Katz Health Care Reform Blog

Health Care Reform From One Person's Perspective

More on the Likely Special Session/Initiative

Posted by Alan on September 9, 2007

It all does seem to be coming together. Not having seen the details of the deal, it’s tough to know how much is good and how much isn’t, but a deal seems to be coming.

Daniel Weintraub of the Sacramento Bee has a great summary of what’s shaping up. It describes a deal pretty much along the lines of what I wrote about yesterday. The Democrats pass bills. The Governor vetos them. In a special session they produce compromise legislation which is contingent on an initiative passing in 2008 to fund the reforms. (The initiative is important for two reasons: it sidesteps the need for a two-thirds majority in the legislature and it allows the Governor to declare it is a post-partisan compromise because ordinary Republicans — not necessarily elected ones — will vote for it).

What we’ll be looking for this week is the details. Will it still empower the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board to impose a health care fee on all businesses in the state without legislative oversight? Will the requirement for all individuals to buy coverage really be enforceable? Will it segregate individuals receiving premium subsidies into a state-run pool or will it allow them the same freedom of choice that their non-subsidized neighbors will enjoy?

Ideally, a draft of compromise legislative language will circulate this week while the vote/veto dance waltzes on. Since I’m on a role, prediction wise, I’m guessing the special session would be scheduled to start on September 24th. This has two benefits: staff will have more time to flesh out and fine-tune the detailed language of the compromise and its after Yom Kippur.  As an added bonus it will hopefully give the public some time to digest the compromise and offer ways to improve it. Whether lawmakers will be open to suggestions on how to improve their compromise remains to be seen. Being a glass-half-full kind of guy, I’m hopeful.


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