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PR Newswire
Sep 06, 2006 - 01:00 AM

by State & Local Wires

Nurses Blast Schwarzenegger Plan to Veto SB 840;

Governor 'Abandoning Millions of Uninsured Californians'
SACRAMENTO, CA -- The California Nurses Association today condemned the announcement by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that he intends to veto a universal health coverage bill passed by the California legislature last week.

Schwarzenegger said he will veto SB 840, authored by CA State Senator Sheila Kuehl, which would assure healthcare coverage for all Californians based on a single standard of care.

"Gov. Schwarzenegger is abandoning millions of Californians to health insecurity and potential financial ruin from un-payable medical bills," said CNA President Deborah Burger, RN.

"His planned veto message demonstrates an appalling lack of sensitivity to the plight of California families facing a healthcare nightmare at a time when more than 6 million Californians are without health coverage, countless patients are unable to afford life saving medications, and our emergency response network is imploding while this governor sits idly by."

Burger noted that the healthcare emergency is accelerating. She cited an Institute of Medicine study that some 18,000 deaths every year are associated with lack of health coverage, and noted that half of personal bankruptcies are linked to medical bills, all problems that would be solved by SB 840.

The veto decision "exposes the fraud of Schwarzenegger's supposed 'moderate' election eve conversion, and demonstrates his continuing allegiance to HMOs, the insurance industry, and other big corporate donors to his campaign at the expense of everyday Californians," said Burger.

CNA also castigated the governor's deliberately deceptive comments in his veto message, from calling SB 840 "socialized medicine" which it is not, to saying it relies on "one source" for care when it retains private providers, to reducing physician choice, another falsehood, Burger noted.

"For three years this governor has ignored our healthcare crisis. He has vetoed bills to expand coverage, to make prescription drugs affordable, to reduce hospital and emergency room closures, all while raking in millions of dollars in campaign contributions from the healthcare industry," Burger said.

"Now with an election fast approaching, he is endorsing a few baby steps that will do little to stem the crisis while continuing to protect his healthcare industry donors," said Burger.

"The veto of SB 840 could not make it clearer," said Burger. "We need a governor who cares about California. That man is not Arnold Schwarzenegger."


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