New Consumer Protections Pending on Gov’s Desk

HEALTH ACCESS ALERT
Thursday, October 8, 2009

URGE GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER TO SIGN CRUCIAL HEALTH REFORM BILLS
* Bills Include Measure to Protect Women from Being Charged More Than Men for Coverage
* Another Bill Would Place Burden of Proof on Insurers Before Rescission of Coverage
* Yet Another Would Require Maternity Medical Services to be Standard in Policies

* More Updates on blog.health-access.org: Speaking Truth to the Power of Insurers; Valuing Value: The Practices and Policies of Wellpoint/Anthem Blue Cross; Pass the Garlic; Pick Up A Good Book; The Arguments Against Reform; The Value of Coverage, Literally; Long Live the Public Option!; Will the Governor Sign on to Greater Insurer Oversight?

* Follow Health Access California on Facebook at www.facebook.com/healthaccess and on Twitter, at @healthaccess, or www.twitter.com/healthaccess for quick updates on budget, bills, and federal health reform.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has until October 11th, THIS SUNDAY, to sign into law the bills on his desk. He is threatening to veto them based on the unrelated issue of water.

The legislature considered many bills of importance to health care consumers this year (a full list is available at www.health-access.org), and many of them made it to the Governor’s desk.

Four important health care bills on the Governor’s desk would provide key consumer protections for patients and needed oversight over health insurers. All four have already undergone intense scrutiny in the Legislature and passed, as California’s state representatives heeded constituents’ demands for tougher regulation of health insurance companies.

With federal health reform discussions progressing in Washington, D.C., this is the perfect time for the Governor to model proactive leadership by signing these consumer protection measures. The major health reform proposals in Congress, like H.R. 3200, address these issues as well, whether preventing rescission of coverage, gender discrimination, or coverage that doesn’t include such basic benefits as maternity care and mental health.

But any reform measure that emerge from Congress will take years to implement — and California has the opportunity to provide this relief to consumers quickly, and to start the transition to a reformed and improved health system. Our state should embrace these same reform goals that are encapsulated by both the national proposals and California bills.

Tell the Governor You Want California to Lead, not Lag Behind, the Movement to Reform the Health Insurance Martket — and Help Californians Be Healthy!

Call and fax the Governor’s office before Sunday’s deadline for him to sign the bills!:

PHONE: 916-445-2841
FAX: 916-445-4633

The crucial bills awaiting the Governor’s action are:
* AB 119 (Jones): GENDER RATING, to prohibit insurers from charging different premium rates based on gender.
* AB 2 (De La Torre): INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF RESCISSIONS, to create an independent review process when an insurer wishes to rescind a consumer’s health policy, create new standards and requirements for medical underwriting, and requires state review before plan approval. Also raises the standard in existing law so that coverage can only be rescinded if a consumer willfully misrepresents his health history.
* AB 98 (De La Torre): MATERNITY COVERAGE, to require all individual insurance policies to cover maternity services.
* AB 244 (Beall): MENTAL HEALTH PARITY, to require most health plans to provide coverage for all diagnosable mental illnesses.These are some of the big hot button issues in health reform.

Tell Governor Schwarzenegger he should sign these bills…
PHONE: 916-445-2841
FAX: 916-445-4633

All the bills on this list are supported by Health Access California and other consumer and community organizations, and will be updated regularly and available at www.health-access.org.

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

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