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Schwarzenegger Says He Supports Health Care Reform

(CBS)
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement today in support of health care reform, making him the latest Republican to endorse the reform efforts currently underway.

"As governor, I have made significant efforts to advance health reform in California," Schwarzenegger said in a statement passed on by the White House. "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. 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."

The White House also made note on Monday of the praise former Bush administration official Tommy Thompson gave for the health care legislation under development in the Senate Finance Committee. Thompson, the former Health and Human Services Secretary during the Bush administration and former governor of Wisconsin, released a statement with former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt.

"The bill that the Senate Finance Committee will vote out for consideration by the full Senate this week is another important step toward achieving the goal of health care reform this year. It moves us down the path of providing affordable high-quality health care for all and expanding coverage for millions," the statement says. "Failure to reach an agreement on health reform this year is not an acceptable option... We urge our former colleagues in Congress to work with President Obama and leaders in both houses and both parties to hammer out a final agreement this year based on common sense principles to ensure that quality care is affordable for every American."

Meanwhile, former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told Time magazine on Friday that while he does not approve of all the proposals Democrats have included in health care legislation, he would ultimately vote in favor of reform.

"I would end up voting for it," he told Time. "As leader, I would take heat for it. ... That's what leadership is all about."

Frist said he is in favor of stricter regulations on insurance companies to protect consumers as well as a mandate for all Americans to acquire health care. He said, however, that the legislation currently under consideration does not do enough to control costs.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a former Republican now registered as an independent, put out his own statement.

"The health reform proposal that Congress will shortly consider is shaping up to merit broad, bipartisan support, incorporating Republican ideas and earning deserved support from Republican leaders," it says. "The approach has great potential to reduce costs for families, businesses and government at every level over the long term, while extending coverage to many millions of the uninsured and investing in proven, cost-effective public health strategies."

Bloomberg, who is running for re-election, won the endorsement today of John Podesta, CEO of the liberal think tank the Center for American Progress and Mr. Obama's presidential transition team leader.

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