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Where Did Health Care Go?

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

At the governor's debate in Davis earlier week, Democrat Jerry Brown joked he can focus on being governor because he's too old to run for President again.

"One more thing," Brown told the audience. "I now have a wife. And I come home at night. I don't try to close down the bars of Sacramento like I used to do when I was Governor of California."

Meanwhile, Republican Meg Whitman says California can learn a lot from Texas.

"Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas, the other day, says 'I come on Hunting Trips to California.' I said, hunting trips? He said, 'Yes. I come hunting for companies and jobs for Texas because we have better business environment.'"

Whether it's age and Texas, or the death penalty and taxes, the candidates have spoken out on a host of different issues.

But neither one of them has touched health care.

The irony is that California's governor will be the person who implements the new federal health care laws at the state level. Anthony Wright heads the consumer group Health Access. He says it's striking how little attention health care has received this election cycle.  

"The Economy is obviously the top issue," says Wright. "What we haven't seen, from the candidates or the press, is to make the link between health care and jobs."

Or, for that matter, Wright says, between health care and the state budget.

Health Care makes up about twenty percent of the state's total economy. Along with education, health care accounts for the biggest portion of the state's budget.

Whitman is against the health care law passed by Congress. During the primary said she would tell the attorney general to fight the law. As for Jerry Brown, he hasn't said much of anything about how he would implement the new health care law.

After the debate, I asked Brown about it. Heading out the door, he told me it was a late night, and he wanted to go home.

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