It’s the New Year already? New Legislators, New Bills

HEALTH ACCESS UPDATE
Wednesday, December 6, 2006

THEY’RE BACK: NEW LEGISLATORS, NEW BILLS

  • Legislature reconvenes; New health bills introduced in first day of session
  • New on the Health Access Blog: Safeway’s plan; Chan’s last day; Gov’s proposal

The new 2007-08 Legislature convened Monday. Of note, thirty-six new Assemblymembers–nearly half of the 80 total–were sworn in for the first time, along with their colleagues. By the end of the first official day of session, 117 new bills had been introduced, several related to health care.

HEALTH BILLS INTRODUCED

Following is the list of bill numbers, authors, description (if it is fleshed out enough), and sponsors (if known). Several of the bills simply list intent, indicating the author’s intention in the issue area. If this list is any indication, the Governor’s health plan will be one of many proposals discussed in the legislature on broad health reform.

Children’s Coverage Expansion

  • AB1 (Dymally). Would allow children in families up to 300% of poverty to enroll in Healthy Families. This is repeat of the last version of AB772 (Chan), which was vetoed by the Governor Schwarzenegger in 2005.
  • AB13 (Laird) and SB32 (Steinberg). Expands children’s coverage, including expanding the Healthy Families program to all children in families up to 300% of the federal poverty level ($49,800 for a family of three). Sponsored by the 100% Campaign.

Related Legislation to Access and Coverage

  • AB8 (Nunez). Declares that affordable, quality health care coverage be made available to all Californians.
  • AB10 (De La Torre) Declares that working Californians and their families have health care coverage that provides basic health care benefits. Also declares that families should have a choice of health care coverage.
  • AB20 (Eng & Hernandez) Would require that health care coverage for working Californians and their families to cover basic health care benefits. Also would ensure that health care benefits are affordable for working Californians and their families by placing limits on out-of-pocket costs based on the ability to pay.
  • AB30 (Evans) Containing costs by minimizing administrative overhead, assuring that those working Californians and their families receive timely access to appropriate health care, and identifying and reducing health care that is both high cost and low quality.
  • AB53 (Dymally) Declares the legislation should pass a bill that provides universal health care coverage to all Californians, regardless of age, income, employment, or health status.
  • SB25 (Maldonado) Would create a tax credit for those who have Health Savings Accounts. Maldonado and others failed at this effort in the first committees last year. This was opposed by Health Access California last year.

Other Health Legislation

  • AB2 (Dymally) Would reform and restructure the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Program, for the medically uninsurable, who are denied coverage elsewhere because of “pre-existing conditions.’’ This is a repeat of AB1971 (Chan), which did not pass last session.
  • AB12 (Beall) Would create the Adult Health Coverage Expansion Program, which would be administered by a county or a local initiative.
  • AB51 (Dymally) Would create a consumer report care Medicare Part D plans. This bill resurrects AB2170 (Chan), which was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in September 2006.
  • AB52 (Dymally) Would require the state operate a 24-hour, toll-free number for patients to complain about hospital facilities.
  • AB75 (Blakeslee) Would create the Healthy Choices Plan to provide health care coverage for those Californians without coverage.

Health Access will continue to provide updates about the progress of these bills. For information, contact Hanh Kim Quach at 916.497.0923 x 206 or hquach@health-access.org.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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