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Arnold Schwarzenegger

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After California voters soundly rejected several proposals to mitigate the state's staggering $21 billion budget deficit, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is suggesting unheard-of cutbacks in health and social programs. This time, the discussion isn't just about cutting money from the Healthy Families subsidized health insurance program, it's about scrapping it altogether.

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California journalists, you know how the state's special election is going to turn out. Late on election night, all of the budget-related propositions - save for the one regarding lawmaker pay raises - are failing miserably. Even Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger skipped town.

So, now that ticked-off voters are turning down the stopgap budget fix proposed by Schwarzenegger, the question in the coming days will be: what happens to health care?

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Journalist. Santa Monica City Councilman. Music Producer. Entrepreneur. Bobby Shriver has worn a lot of hats, some of them simultaneously. Now, while working as a councilman, he runs (RED), a company he created with Bono to fund the purchase and distribution of medications to fight HIV and AIDS in Africa. I reached him at his office in Santa Monica.

Here is a recap of our conversation. It has been edited for space and clarity.

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Sandra Shewry is president and CEO of the Center for Connected Health Policy. She took a leave of absence from June to December 2010 to serve as a consultant to the state of California on implementing health care reform. Previously, she served as director of the California Department of Health Services, having been appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in March 2004. Prior to its reorganization, the California Department of Health Services was one of the largest departments within state government with a budget of $36 billion and 6,000 employees.

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Dr. Richard J. Jackson is a professor and the chairman of environmental health sciences at UCLA's School of Public Health. Previously, he was an adjunct professor of environmental health services at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. He also served as state public health officer for the California Department of Health Services. His responsibilities included direct leadership and oversight of the department's public health-related activities.

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Kimberly Belshé was appointed secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in November 2003. Belshé is a member of the governor's cabinet and serves as his chief advisor on health, social services and rehabilitative policies. Belshé manages an agency of almost 33,000 employees, with a total state budget of about $70 billion. The agency oversees 11 state departments and one board that are responsible for providing Californians with health, developmental, mental, rehabilitative, social and other critical services.

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C. Duane Dauner is president of the California Hospital Association, the statewide leader representing the interests of hospitals, health systems and other health care providers in California. CHA includes nearly 500 hospital and health system members and more than 200 associate members.

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