A California Senate committee Monday killed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s universal health insurance plan.
The plan evolved through a year of negotiations to include a mandate that individuals obtain health insurance, subsidies for lower-income residents, and guarantees that insurance would be available to people with pre-existing conditions.
Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-L.A., made the plan a top priority and the Assembly passed the insurance bill in December.
The proposal got tripped up in the upper house because of a lack of support from key Democratic senators, combined with worries over the state’s weakening budget position. Despite the Republican governor’s advocacy for the bill, it had zero support from GOP lawmakers.
Those worries were exacerbated last week when the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office released its analysis of the proposal, concluding that the annual costs of the plan were likely to exceed its revenues by the fifth year of the program.
If the bill had cleared the Legislature, voters in November would have been asked to fiance it by approving a package of cigarette taxes, hospital fees, and a payroll tax on employers that do not provide health insurance. The plan would have reshaped the entire structure of hospital and health insurance funding in California.