Schwarzenegger backs Democratic healthcare plan

The California governor becomes one of a handful of prominent Republicans to support reform legislation

Published October 6, 2009 6:15PM (EDT)

Conservatives have never been especially wild about California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now they have more reason to be displeased with him -- he's just endorsed President Obama's efforts to reform healthcare.

In a statement released Tuesday, Schwarzenegger said:

As Governor, I have made significant efforts to advance health reform in California. As the Obama Administration was launching the current debate on health care reform, I hosted a bipartisan forum in our state because I believe in the vital importance of this issue, and that it should be addressed through bipartisan cooperation.

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 the president 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.

So far, there are only a couple other Republicans who've publicly supported the Democratic proposals, but the number has been growing recently. Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist became one of them, albeit with some reservations, last week. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and Bush administration official Mark McClellan are two of the others.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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