Why Sen. Lou Correa voted against SB 810


Jan. 29, 2010


Yesterday the state Senate passed SB 810, the single payer health care bill sponsored by Senator Mark Leno (D, San Francisco) by a 22-14 vote. Today I spoke with Senator Lou Correa (D, Santa Ana), the only Democrat to vote against the bill.

At first, Correa’s staff refused to comment on why the senator voted against single-payer health care. But in a later interview, Correa himself said that in his district, his focus is “jobs, jobs, jobs, and not some bill without details. I do believe we need health care reform in this state, but this is not it.” Correa said his frustration is the “cost of the bill” — an estimated $200 billion — and he doesn’t “have a real clear read on the cost or detail of the bill.”

Correa said in Santa Ana, there are several hospitals teetering dangerously close to closing. He’s “worried about the jobs,” as well as the loss of medical facilities themselves. “In my opinion, California has universal health care already,” he said. “It’s called emergency rooms. Iit’s expensive, but it’s available to anyone. The government is already up to its ears in health care, and a major player with Medicare and prescription drugs.”

Then Correa said the bill really showed what was wrong with term limits. “Elected officials cannot control the unelected bureaucracies in the state when we are faced with term limits,” he said. According to Correa, “unelected bureaucrats” would direct and manage health care in the state under SB 810 . “Why should we turn over health care to an unelected bureaucrat?” he asked rhetorically. He added that state bureaucrats know that legislators will be termed out eventually and have to go back to the private sector, leaving the health care bureaucracy “unaccountable to even the electeds.”

Correa said term limits affect more than just getting politicians out of office. “The lessons that new legislators have not yet learned or lived through are issues like this,” Correa said. “That’s the underbelly of term limits.”

Photo courtesy Sen. Correa’s website (dist34.casen.govoffice.com)

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