Proof of the Govenor’s Clout

My last post commented on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s political clout and how it will shape the health care reform debate. A recent article provides some proof.

In addition to gloating over the Governor’s seeming inability to get his reform package introduced as legislation (see my previous post), many took glee in the hurdles the Administration faced in obtaining the federal funding he needs to finance his proposal.

No more glee for thee! Mike Leavitt, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary recently committed the Bush administration to supporting nearly all of the govenor’s $3.7 million request to increase Medi-Cal funding. According to the Sacramento Bee, in an article written by Judy Lin and published on March 15th, the remaining shortfall will be forthcoming once the state submits the proper paperwork. Pretty impressive considering the White House has proposed Medicaid cuts (Medi-Cal is the state’s version of Medicaid).

Maybe any California Governor could have pulled this off. We’ll never know as we only get one governor at a time. At the very least, this breakthrough reinforces the message of my earlier post: it’s not the bills you introduce, it’s the the clout you wield. There’s a long way to go before the end of the health care reform debate in California. With or without legislation embodying his overall plan, the Governor is showing he’s going to shape it.