Healthcare would seem to be a big issue in California, where more than 6 million residents are uninsured, urban emergency rooms teeter on the brink of closure and rising costs are pinching the state budget as well as taxpayers. It is not, however, much of an issue in the gubernatorial campaign. One reason is voters themselves. In a recent poll, just 4% of those likely to cast ballots ranked healthcare as their No. 1 concern in the governor's race. Most voters have insurance and are generally satisfied with the kind of healthcare coverage that they're getting personally.
Schwarzenegger, with a wide lead in the polls, has not seen the need to wrestle with the complexities of the issue, or its many controversies, on the campaign trail. He has made some strides in healthcare. In August, he supported legislation allowing the state to fine hospitals for lapses that cause serious injury or death. His budget this year included about $250 million to prepare for such disasters as a pandemic flu or bioterrorist events. And he reached a deal with Democrats to lower drug prices for more than 5 million Californians and acceded to their demands to allow sanctions against noncompliant drug companies.
The governor believes that the biggest problem facing Californians is affordability and the rising costs of healthcare. That makes sense. According to Peter Lee, chief executive of the Pacific Business Group on Health. "It's really been recently that we've seen the governor embrace the need to try to tackle head-on the full range of cost, quality and access problems in healthcare."
See full Los Angeles Times story, As a campaign issue, healthcare is comatose