HEALTH ACCESS UPDATE
Monday, June 11, 2007
LEGISLATURE HITS HALF-WAY MARK IN SESSION
* Dozens of health-related bills pass full Assembly and Senate, head to second house
New on the Health Access WeBlog: BlueCross on WallStreet; Recent History of Health Reform; Coverage of Coverage
Bumping up against the June 8 deadline for bills to pass the first of two houses, lawmakers met in all-day sessions this week to ensure their bills advanced to the next level.
In addition to major coverage expansion legislation, AB8 (Nunez), SB48 (Perata) and SB840(Kuehl), which passed both Wednesday and Thursday, a few dozen bills of interest to health advocates also were heard and debated. Following is a list of the bills, the votes, a short description, and the position of Health Access California.
For a handout with this bill list, advocates may also visit the Health Access website, at:
* AB8 (Nunez) — 47-32 –Would enact several health care reforms to secure and expand coverage for millions of Californians, by setting of a minimum employer contribution for worker healthcare, a statewide purchasing pool, expanded public programs for children and adults, and new rules for insurers, including access for those with “pre-existing conditions.” (See previous updates.) Support if amended.
* SB48 (Perata) — 23-16 –Would enact several health care reforms to secure and expand coverage for millions of Californians, by setting of a minimum employer contribution for worker healthcare, a statewide purchasing pool, expanded public programs for children and adults, and new rules for insurers, including access for those with “pre-existing conditions.” (See previous updates.)
* SB840 (Kuehl) — 23-15 — Would create a universal, single-payer health care system in California. The bill was passed by the Legislature in 2006 and vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger. (See previous updates.) Support.
* AB1 (Laird/Dymally) – 47-25 – Would allow children in families up to 300% of poverty to enroll in Healthy Families. This is a repeat of the last version of AB772 (Chan), which was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2005. Support.
* SB32 (Steinberg) – 25-32 – Would allow children in families up to 300% of poverty to enroll in Healthy Families. This is a repeat of the last version of AB772 (Chan), which was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2005. Support.
Access to Care
* SB275 (Cedillo) – 24-13 – Would prevent patient dumping by requiring hospitals to have a written policy on discharging patients, and requiring hospitals to appropriately plan post-discharge care with patients. Also prevents hospitals from moving patients to locations, other than their residence, without the consent of the patient.
* SB474 (Kuehl) – 38-0 – Would extend financing for federal hospital waiver and Coverage Initiative. Support.
Legislation Related to Public Programs
* AB2 (Dymally) – 47-32 — 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. Support.
* AB12 (Beall) – 47-32 – Would create the Adult Health Coverage Expansion Program in Santa Clara County which would be administered by a county or local initiative. Support.
* AB55 (Dymally) – 48-30 – Would increase Medi-Cal eligibility for adults to 133% of poverty. Support.
* AB343 (Solorio) – 47-32 — Would require the state to disclose names of employers who, rather than providing health coverage, have many of their workers and their families on Medi-Cal and Healthy Families. Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill – AB1840 (Horton) — last year. Support.
* AB910 (Karnette) – 71-1 – Privately-purchased health coverage for children with ental or physical disabilities would not end at a certain age. Support.
* AB1113 (Brownley) – 50-27 — Extends and increases eligibility for the Medi-Cal California Working Disabled Program. Support.
* AB1155 (Huffman) – 52-25 — Allows the Department of Managed Health Care to discipline health plans if they do not pay claims on time.
* AB1324 (De La Torre) – 55-17 — Would require health plans to justify to DOI or DMHC why they are rescinding health coverage to enrollees. Health plans may not recover costs of care provided to enrollees unless they can prove consumers purposely deceived them. Support.
* AB1554 (Jones) – 42-33 — Would regulate rates by requiring DMHC/DOI approval before copayments, premiums, coinsurance, deductibles or other out of pocket costs are increased.
* SB350 (Runner) – 38-0 — Makes technical changes to California ’s landmark legislation last year that bans the practice of hospital overcharging.
* AB423 (Beall) – 47-30 – Would expand Knox Keene to include diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses. Support.
* SB606 (Scott) – 25-15 – Would require pharmaceutical companies to disclose clinical trial results for drugs sold in the state. Support.
Bills that did not advance to the second house:
* SB1014 (Kuehl) Would impose an additional personal income tax for those earning more than $200,000 to fund a single-payer universal health care system under SB840. Support.
* AB770 (Hernandez) Provides that farmworkers should be offered health coverage. Farmers that provide coverage would be able to lower their total health care costs. Amend.
* AB961 (Hernandez) Would establish that every child born in California to a parent who receives Medi-Cal shall automatically be enrolled in Medi-Cal at birth to address DRA compliance. Support.
* AB1072 (Gaines) Would create the California Health Insurance Exchange within the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board that would “facilitate’’ the purchase of health insurance. Amend.
* SB982 (Machado) Would establish that statements on applications for insurance that are later found to be false would not bar enrollees from collecting under that policy unless applicants knowingly provided false information.
* AB51 (Dymally) Would create a consumer report card for Medicare Part D plans. This bill was similar to AB2170 (Chan), which was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in September 2006. Support.
* AB52 (Dymally) Would require the state to operate a 24-hour, toll-free number for patients to complain about hospital facilities. Support.
* SB389 (Yee) Would prevent providers from directly billing consumers for the balance of bills that insurers don’t pay. Requires insurers to report violations to the Department of Managed Health Care. Support.
* AB368 (Carter) Would require insurers to provide up to $1,000 in hearing aid coverage for enrollees. Support.
* SB623 (Wiggins) Would relieve dually eligible seniors, on Medicare and Medi-Cal, from paying prescription drug copays between $1 and $3, which they were forced to do in 2006 after being shifted to Medicare Part D. Support.
Health Access will continue to update advocates on the status of legislation as it moves through the process.