We’ll be at it again next year…..

The governor has just followed up signings with some vetoes

SB 840 (Kuehl) would have established single-payer health system in California. Schwarzenegger vetoed this last year, so this was not unexpected.

A couple of bills that were part of the original ABx1 1 legislation, which the governor supported this year were also vetoed, arguing that he could not support piecemeal health reform.

  • SB 973 (Simitian) would have established a statewide public insurer, connecting existing regional, county-based health care plans, which would compete with private health care plans and provide consumers with more affordable coverage choices.
  • SB 1440 (Kuehl) would have set a minimum medical loss ratio – requiring every insurer to spend at least 85 percent of premiums on patient care.

In the absence of comprehensive health reform, we needed to shore up and make some modest changes to our high risk pool — which allows people who are denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions — to get health care. The governor vetoed that too, saying he wanted a comprehensive solution. Of course — since that stalled this year, why wouldn’t he want to at least put in place some thing that could tie some consumers over while we work toward a comprehensive solution?

  • AB 2 (Dymally) would reform the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Program, which provides coverage for “un-insureables” who have “pre-existing conditions.’’ It would make the high risk pool more affordable and available and eliminate the annual $75,000 annual cap on benefits.

The governor also vetoed legislation — AB 1945 (De La Torre) — that would have established an independent review process if an insurer wants to rescind coverage, and raises the standard in existing law so that coverage can only be rescinded if a consumer willfully misrepresents his health history. The governor’s office, this year, has been working hard on addressing this area, demanding the reinstatement of thousands of policies that were wrongly rescinded. The higher standard for rescission was something the administration had previously exprsesed reservations about.

And lastly, not surprisingly, a number of bills that would have guaranteed maternity coverage (AB 1962 (DeLaTorre), mental health parity, AB 1887 (Beall) and SB 1198 (Kuehl) which required durable medical equipment to be offered, were all vetoed, with the excuse that it would cost money –even while actually providing people with health care they desperately need.

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

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