Just because the deadline for bills to pass policy committee passed last Friday doesn’t mean it wasn’t a busy day in the state Legislature.
As folks who follow our Twitter feed know, the Senate Appropriations Committee heard many, many bills, and even passed several health reform related measures, which were not candidates for suspense, like SB951(Hernandez), to set an essential health benefits standard for health coverage, and SB1081(Fuller) providing a new options for Tulare County to take advantage of Low-Income Health Program funds. Other bills, like SB970(DeLeon), on streamlining eligibility and enrollment for both health and human services programs, went on suspense–where its fate will decided in a few weeks, along with hundreds of other bills.
In the afternoon, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health heard the Governor’s budget proposals related to the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). The subcommittee, chaired by Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, adopted several of budget’s proposals, but held most of the major cut items open, reserving judgement until after the May Revision of the budget.
Of particular note, however, the subcommittee rejected the Brown Administration’s proposal to change how community health centers get reimbursed, with a bipartisan vote, as Republican Shannon Grove voted with the Democratic majority, as Democrat Wes Chesbro gave his vote “with gusto.” Another rejected cut would have “locked-in” Medi-Cal enrollees into a health plan for a full year before being able to change plans. No decisions are final, however, until after the Legislature passes and the Governor signs a final budget.
Speaking of budgets, May Revise is just around the corner….