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Gov Has One More Day To Sign/Veto Bills

Tomorrow, September 30th, is the constitutional deadline by which Governor Schwarzenegger must sign or veto any bills that the Legislature passed this year.

Two of the most talked-about pieces of legislation still on the Governor’s desk are SB 900 (Steinberg) and AB 1602 (Perez), sister bills that would establish the California Health Benefit Exchange.

There were rumors last week that with significant pressure from a couple powerful health insurers and interest groups the Governor might veto the bills. However, the feeling in Sacramento yesterday and today is much more optimistic. While there are no claims of certainty, most people around the Capitol believe Schwarzenegger will sign the bills today or tomorrow.

An editorial in today’s Sacramento Bee expresses support for the Exchange legislation. The editors note that:

“An exchange that can negotiate prices for a large volume of individuals – getting group discounts the same way that large employers do – would put much-needed competitive downward pressure on prices. Individuals not covered by an employer and small businesses would be able to select a health plan from a broad range of offerings.”

The whole editorial is definitely worth a read. As is Micah Weinberg’s Exchange op-ed in Monday’s San Jose Mercury News.

We will post an update to the blog on these bills and the other health reform legislation on the Governor’s desk as soon as we get word of the Governor’s decisions.