On Health Care, Govs Are Tightening Belts
While more than a dozen governors hold out hope for getting universal health insurance for either adults or children, many governors this year are increasingly struggling to keep just their current health programs afloat.
States don't have much money in the bank to pay for ambitious health proposals. A stingy federal government and a souring economy — with its loss of jobs and tax revenue — mean less money flowing in. But at the same time, more people are lining up for public services, like health insurance, as they lose their jobs or earn less money.
This current climate makes it more difficult for states to follow the lead of Massachusetts, which last year became the first to require nearly all residents to get health coverage.
Even before the economy slumped, governors in California, Illinois and Pennsylvania couldn't get major universal coverage measures through their legislatures last year. They all vowed early this year to press the issue again.
“Now, I understand the concern that we have now a deficit, and that our plan is maybe too daring, or too bold, or expensive. But sometimes you have to be daring, because the need is so great,” California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) told legislators in his annual state of the state address Jan. 8.
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