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Oct 01, 2008 - 11:00 AM
Arnold: Protect Maria, let the rest go bankrupt!by Jamie Court
A few years ago Warren Beatty claimed at our consumer group's annual dinner that the definition of a "Schwarzenegger Republican" was a Bush Republican who called himself a Schwarzenegger Republican. Schwarzenegger's final verdict on California health care legislation this week proved Beatty's point.
Schwarzenegger signed legislation protecting Maria Shriver's medical privacy after a break-in at UCLA exposed her records, but vetoed a full plate of bills to protect average patients from profiteering HMOs and escalating health insurance costs. The Gov's biggest betrayal of patients came on an issue he himself railed against in his state of the state speech. Schwarzenegger vetoed bi-partisan legislation that would have prevented health insurers from canceling sick patients' coverage for innocent omissions on their insurance applications. Not only have patients been losing their insurance at the time they need it most, but the insurers are refusing to pay past six figure medical bills -- forcing insured families into bankruptcy.
The vetoed legislation made insurers prove that a patient had intentionally lied on his application, the standard Arnold himself called for from in his January speech. (Watch the video.)
The Gov recounted the story of a San Diego man whose insurer rescinded his coverage after he was diagnosed with lymphoma. He said:
Schwarzenegger lied, and he did it just like Bush.What was the reason for the veto? "This bill was written by the attorneys that stand to benefit from its provisions." Those greedy trial lawyers! Ironically, it was lawsuits that revealed the problem with illegal cancellations in the first place and the vetoed legislation would have required regulators to review cancellations so patients didn't have to go to court. In the end, no attorney would be involved if the health insurers who gave over $1 million to Schwarzenegger's campaigns didn't illegally cancel coverage.
Other vital patient legislation wiped out by Schwarzenegger's pen, as recounted by the LA Times:
Shame on Schwarzenegger. I have said it before, but this is supposed to be the new and improved Arnold. And this was supposed to be his year for health care reform. But since the legislature didn't do exactly what he wanted, the Gov said let 'em go bankrupt!
Sure sounds a lot more like George W. than Ronald Reagan. Reagan reportedly had a sign over his desk that read, "There's no limit to what you can accomplish if you don't care who takes credit for it."
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