Governor Schwarzenegger’s office discusses National Health Care Reform during Tuesday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”:
“Hi, this is Kim Belshé, secretary of California’s Health and Human Services Agency, filling in for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger with another California Report.
This week our Governor co-hosted a regional White House forum on an issue that Californians are very passionate about: health reform.
We are thrilled that President Obama shares the Governor’s commitment to reforming the healthcare system, and ensuring that every American has access to affordable, quality care.
Governor Schwarzenegger had the opportunity to host the forum with Washington state Governor Christine Gregoire and the White House’s Domestic Policy Council Director, Melody Barnes.
The forum brought together consumers, business leaders, insurers and providers.
We heard heartbreaking stories.
We heard about a hard-working family bankrupted by medical bills, and we heard about an uninsured patient, whose delayed access to treatment contributed to his death.
In our state alone, we have 6.8 million people who are uninsured.
In California, and across our nation, our health care system is in crisis.
Emergency rooms are closing because of rising costs and unpaid bills.
People with insurance are paying hidden taxes to cover the costs of uncompensated care provided to the uninsured.
And people with insurance are living in fear of losing their insurance or being one serious illness away from financial disaster.
And for those who don’t have insurance, it can be impossible to find.
But health reform is hardly a new idea.
In 1912, Teddy Roosevelt proposed a plan to dramatically improve health care for the American people. 36 years later Earl Warren tried to do the same thing in California. He failed by one vote.
And over the past few years, the whole country watched as California pushed hard to fix our healthcare system and create a model that the nation can follow.
Now we have a partner in the White House, and this is our opportunity to make expanded health coverage, affordable health care, and a healthier citizenry a reality in our state and maybe in every state.
Yes, it’s going to be tough to do this nationally.
But we here in California have always felt that our state is an excellent laboratory for the federal government.
And we’ve learned some important lessons about healthcare reform along the way.
The number one lesson is coalition building.
Gov. Schwarzenegger worked hard to bring stakeholders together, to help people move out of their comfort zones and to come together on a compromise.
It’s important to realize that there will be no “perfect package” that everyone will love. But we can work together on consensus and on the right compromise.
In California, we are also leading the way in prevention.
Reform is not just about our healthcare delivery system or an insurance card. It is also about staying healthy.
By tackling tobacco addiction and obesity, we’ll save money and prevent a lot of needless suffering.
The Governor banned junk food and soda at school. And we required menu labeling and cut out transfats at restaurants.
We know that California has the right blueprint.
President Obama has laid out eight principles for his federal health care proposal, and he has set the bar very high bar.
But we here in California are ready to work.
We are ready to be a partner in bringing comprehensive, affordable, quality health coverage to everyone, in our state and in the nation.
On behalf of the Governor, this is Secretary Belshé. Thank you for listening.”
The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard each weekday morning at 6:47, 7:47 and 8:47am.
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