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Commentary

I Cannot Support Socialized Medicine
Arnold Schwarzenegger, The San Diego Union-Tribune, 9-5-06

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger defends his decision to veto California Senate Bill 840, which would create a "single payer" health care system for all California residents by, among other things, outlawing private insurance.

Socialized medicine is not the solution to our state's health care problems. This bill would require an extraordinary redirection of public and private funding by creating a vast new bureaucracy to take over health insurance and medical care for Californians—a serious and expensive mistake.

Such a program would cost the state billions and lead to significant new taxes on individuals and businesses, without solving the critical issue of affordability. I won't jeopardize the economy of our state for such a purpose.

SB 840 relies on the failed old paradigm of using one source—this time the government—to solve the complex problem of providing medical care for our people. It uses the same one-sided approach tried in SB 2, the employer-mandated coverage measure signed into law before I became governor. I opposed SB 2 because it placed nearly the entire burden on employers, and voters repealed it in 2004.

I want to see a new paradigm that addresses affordability, shared responsibility and the promotion of healthy living.

Single payer, government-run health care does none of this. Yet it would reduce a person's ability to choose his or her own physician, make people wait longer for treatment and raise the cost of that treatment.

With my partners in the Legislature, I look forward in 2007 to working to develop a comprehensive and systemic approach to health care that not only provides affordable medical treatment to people when they are ill, but that strives to make sure people don't get sick in the first place. An approach that supports cost containment and recognizes the shared responsibility of individuals, employers and government. That promotes personal responsibility and builds on existing private and public systems.



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