California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger withdrew his support for President Obama's health care plan today, making him one of the latest politicians to express displeasure with the deals and concessions Democrats have made in order to secure enough votes for the legislation.
"While I enthusiastically support health care reform, it is not reform to push more costs onto states that are already struggling while other states get sweetheart deals," Schwarzenegger said today in his State of the State address. "Health care reform, which started as noble and needed legislation, has become a trough of bribes, deals and loopholes."
The White House hailed the Republican governor's earlier support of the health care bill as an example of bipartisan support for the Democratic package. Indeed, in October, Schwarzenegger said his state's interests aligned with President Obama's plans.
"Our principal goals, slowing the growth in costs, enhancing the quality of care delivered, improving the lives of individuals, and helping to ensure a strong economic recovery, are the same goals that [President Obama] is trying to achieve," he said. "I appreciate his partnership with the states and encourage our colleagues on both sides of the political aisle at the national level to move forward and accomplish these vital goals for the American people."
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Now the governor, whose state faces an out-of-control budget crisis, says the plan will simply "pile billions more [in expenses] onto California."
"California's congressional delegation should either vote against this bill that is a disaster for California or get in there and fight for the same sweetheart deal Senator [Ben] Nelson of Nebraska got for the Cornhusker State," he said. "He got the corn; we got the husk."
Before Nelson promised to vote for the bill, which passed in the Senate on Christmas Eve, he secured a deal in which the federal government would completely pay for any expansion of Medicaid in Nebraska, leaving the state government off the hook.
Schwarzenegger isn't the only one who disapproves of Nelson's deal: A Rasmussen poll last month showed only 17 percent of Nebraska voters approved of it, while Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas said Tuesday that the deal should be removed from the bill.