SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The prognosis for universal health care in California is grim this year, and experts say a failure could set back similar efforts nationwide for years to come.
Unions, doctors and other powerful interests are arrayed against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's $12 billion-a-year plan to make medical insurance mandatory. He has threatened to veto the Democrats' less ambitious alternative and take his plan to the ballot instead.
A showdown could come as early as Thursday, when the Democrats plan to put Schwarzenegger's proposal to a vote in the state Assembly. The aim is to show how little support it has.
With the campaign for the White House under way, what happens in America's most populous state could have especially wide repercussions.