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January 30, 2008

Schwarzenegger to Press Universal Health Insurance

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday vowed to continue pressing for legislation that would provide health insurance to his state's uninsured, a day after a universal health care bill he supported died in a Senate committee.

Lawmakers had missed a golden opportunity for California to show the rest of the United States how to establish universal health care, Schwarzenegger said in a speech to the press club of the state capital.

"I'm as determined as ever," Schwarzenegger said. "The issue is not going to go away."

The bill had been closely watched across the United States because of California's size -- it is the largest state in the U.S. -- and the rising anxiety among Americans about the spiralling cost and lack of availability of affordable health care.

Nearly 47 million Americans, or 16 percent of the population, were without health insurance in 2005, according to the National Coalition on Health Care.

Health care has become a major issue in the presidential campaign, with leading candidates acknowledging that changes are needed, and some advocating plans to expand coverage.

Schwarzenegger, a Republican, and state Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, a Democrat, brokered the bill that would have given Californians without medical insurance some level of coverage by requiring they obtain it individually, through employers or via a state program.

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Posted by healthinsurance at January 30, 2008 11:58 AM