Conference on California’s Universal Health Care Proposal

Attention: Higher education, health care and political reporters

Contact: Susan Gluss, media relations director, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law 510.642.6936,

WHAT: “California’s Proposed Health Care Reform,” a one-day conference on the legal and economic impacts of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s universal health care proposal. The event is being sponsored by the Berkeley Center for Law and Business and the Nicholas C. Petris Center on Health Care Markets & Consumer Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley.

Participants will discuss elements of health care reform dividing state legislators, insurance companies, businesses and the governor’s office and identify strategies to navigate these differences. Topics will include funding and affordability, individual mandates and federal laws that could preempt state regulations. Speakers will also compare the governor’s proposal to other state plans and to universal health care coverage proposals by Sens. Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.

WHEN: 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., Friday, Nov. 2

WHERE: International House, 2299 Piedmont Ave., Berkeley

WHO: Attendees will include senior aides from the state capitol and the governor’s office, insurance company consultants, academics and national analysts. Speakers will include:

– Ruth Liu, associate secretary for health policy, California Health & Human Services Agency, and a chief advisor to the governor on his health reform proposal

– Peter Harbage, president of Harbage Consulting and top health care advisor to former Sen. John Edwards

– Robert F. Graboyes, senior health care advisor, National Federation of Independent Business Jerry Fleming, senior vice president and health plan manager, Kaiser Foundation

– William Dow, UC Berkeley associate professor of health economics, School of Public Health, and former senior health economist for President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors

The governor’s plan to provide universal health care for Californians is under fire. State lawmakers, consumers and labor groups say the plan is unaffordable for the working poor and leaves the middle class out in the cold. The plan’s supporters say it’s comprehensive, with built-in incentives to ensure fair and reasonable contributions from employers, workers, doctors, hospitals and insurers. If a compromise bill is passed, it will likely be on the November 2008 ballot.