The Alan Katz Health Care Reform Blog

Health Care Reform From One Person's Perspective

Principals Deny California Health Care Reform Deal Imminent

Posted by Alan on December 12, 2007

So, who to believe? Those who oppose the current health care reform proposals on the table in Sacramento because they don’t go far enough? Or the principals actually involved in the negotiations?

According to the Sacramento Bee’s CapitolAlert (which has added this blog to it’s list of top blogs, incidentally), the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) and the California Nurses Association are claiming California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Speaker Fabian Nunez and Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata are close to striking a deal on comprehensive health care reform with the blessings of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.

Not so says Senator Perata. Not so say spokes-folk for Speaker Nunez and the Governor. Not so says the Labor Federation. 

CapitolAlert says the deal rumors stemmed from a release by the FTCR headlined “California Labor Poised to Sell out Consumers with Unaffordable Mandate.” In the words of Steve Maviglio, Speaker Nunez’s spokesman, the FTCR and CNA are “tragically and deliberately misrepresenting the discussions taking place in Sacramento.” While the principals remain optimistic an agreement will be reached, there’s no deal imminent according to Mr. Maviglio.

Usually when there’s a lack of real news on a topic, the importance of rumors is elevated. It’s also not uncommon for opponents of a possible deal to launch a preemptive strike to remind negotiators that they’re being watched. That might be what’s going on here.

It’s also possible, however, that the FTCR and CNA are upset the single-payer apporach they advocate has been completely marginalized. They may have felt it was time to make some noise to remain relevant. The FTCR especially seems to need — and seek out — press attention nearly as much as too thin celebrities-for-being-celebrities do. Under this theory, the attack on Labor and lawmakers is the political equivalent of posing for the paparazzi.

In the meantime, talks go on, the principals profess optimism but give no progress reports, the budget deficit grows and time is running out. That’s all we really know.


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