The Alan Katz Health Care Reform Blog

Health Care Reform From One Person's Perspective

Your State Government at Work

Posted by Alan on December 17, 2007

Update: December 17th, 10:00 am — New amendments to ABX1-1 are due any hour now. Word has it they’re fairly extensive. Whether these changes mean the hearings and votes will be delayed or not is unclear.  

The Assembly Appropriations Committee needs to vote on the health care reform compromise package hammered out by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger before Assembly Bill X1-1 (Nunez) goes to the full Assembly. So they’re scheduled to meet and “consider” the legislation at 11:00 am today.

At around 1:00 the legislators will meet in party caucuses. Assembly Minority Leader Mike Villines has already pledged his party’s opposition to new taxes or a “government run healthcare scheme.” So they’ll be working on how to muster their opposition.

In the Democrat caucus members will hear an explanation as to why they should support the package. (It would be interesting to know how many will have read it by this afternoon — probably more than we expect, but less than we hope). As mentioned in my previous post, the California Labor Federation’s president has asked for a delay on the vote for a few days until they can study the bill. The Speaker’s office is moving forward, however, and announced the support of two unions for ABX1-1: the California State Council of Laborers; and California Conference of Carpenters.

Meanwhile, back to the voting: once the caucuses are finished the full Assembly will convene. Spirited debate will follow and, sometime this afternoon, ABX1-1 will be passed by the Assembly on a party line vote. It will be interesting to see how many, if any, Democrats vote against the bill or, if not willing to go that far, are “absent” for the vote. It will be irrelevant, but it may well be one of the few interesting things going on. When you already know the end of the story you’ve got to pay attention to something to stay engaged.

For those wanting to listen in to all of this scurrying around, click on over to the California State Assembly web site. I’m not sure what room the Appropriations Committee will be using, but it shouldn’t be hard to determine if it’s being broadcast.

Once the celebration ends in the Assembly chamber, all attention will turn to the Senate side of the Capitol. Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata has said it’s irresponsible to enact health care reform in the face of a $14 billion state deficit. He’s even signaled the Senate will not be convening before the new year. However, the pressure on him to pass ABX1-1 will be tremendous. My guess is he’ll make a definitive statement soon — no later than Wednesday.


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