HEALTH ACCESS UPDATE

Thursday, May 29, 2003

UNIVERSAL ACCESS MOVES FORWARD IN THE SENATE

Senate Appropriations Committee today acted to pass two universal coverage

bills, SB921 by Senator Sheila Kuehl, the single payer bill, and SB2 by

Senators John Burton and Jackie Speier, the employer mandate measure. Both

passed on party-line votes with all eight Democrats voting aye and all five

Republicans voting no. Aye votes included: Alpert, Bowen, Burton, Escutia,

Karnette, Machado, Murray, Speier. No votes were: Battin, Aanestad, Ashburn,

Johnson, and Poochigian.

SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE MOVES SOME HEALTH BILLS, TEMPORARILY DELAYS OTHERS

Senate Appropriations acted on a long list of other measures that had fiscal

consequences for state government. SB853 by Senator Marta Escutia to require

HMOs to assure provision of culturally and linguistically competent health

care to Californians with commercial insurance also passed on a 8-4 vote.

SB379 by Senator Ortiz which would provide some protections for self-pay

hospital patients was temporarily held in committee: negotiations are

continuing on amendments to reduce the cost to state government and the

measure may move next week.

MORE ACTION OVER THE NEXT WEEK

By Friday, June 6, Assembly bills must pass the Assembly and Senate bills

must pass the Senate in order to remain alive for this year. Bills that fail

to pass the house of origin by the end of next week are not available to be

heard again until January of 2004.

Also, during the next week, it is anticipated that both houses will debate

and vote on the budget so that the budget conference committee can begin its

work. ATTACHED is an UPDATED Health Budget Cuts SCORECARD, reflecting the

content of the Senate and Assembly budgets with regards to the proposed health

cuts.

VOTING RECORD ON SB921 AND SB2

Because both of these universal coverage bills have now passed three

committees in the Senate, there is a clear voting record on both. SB2 has been considered by a strict party-line vote.

SB921 Vote Record

18 AYES To Date

1. Alpert

2. Alarcon

3. Bowen

4. Burton

5. Chesbro

6. Escutia

7. Figueroa

8. Florez

9. Karnette

10.Kuehl

11.Machado

12.Murray

13.Ortiz

14.Perata

15.Romero

16.Speier

17.Soto

18.Vincent

NOES To Date

1. Aanestad

2. Ashburn

3. Battin

4. Johnson

5. Morrow

6. Oller

7. Poochigian

While present during committee votes, Senators Scott and Vasconcellos voted for SB 2 but not for SB 921, raising concerns about the state budget crisis and assuring adequate funding of the health care system in a similar budget crisis in the future. Only five Democratic Senators have not had the opportunity to vote on either bill in committee. They include Senator Gil Cedillo, a co-sponsor of SB 921. Since 21 votes are needed to pass the Senate, advocates for the uninsured should urge these Democrats to vote for SB 2 and SB 921, as well as all Republican Senators.

* Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny – capitol phone/916.445.6767, capitol fax/916.327.3522

district office phone (Chula Vista)/619.409.7690

* Senator Joe Dunn – capitol office phone/916.445.5831, capitol office fax/916.323.2323

district office phone (Garden Grove)/714.705.1580

* Senator Bryon Sher – capitol phone/916.445.6747, capitol fax/916.323.4529

district office phone (San Jose)/408.277.9460

* Senator Tom Torlakson – capitol phone/916.445.6083, capitol fax/916.445.2527

district office phone (Concord)/925.602.6593



Anthony E. Wright

Executive Director

Health Access

1127 11th St., #234, Sacramento, CA 95814

Ph: 916-442-2308, Fx: 916-497-0921

awright@health-access.org

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