HEALTH ACCESS UPDATE
Wednesday, May 28th, 2003
* ASSEMBLY AND SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEES APPROVE RESTORATIONS TO HEALTH, FOR NOW
In the past two days, the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees considered and passed the recommendations of the respective budget subcommittees. In both cases, they re-affirmed the work of the Subcommittees on Health to restore many of the significant health cuts to Medi-Cal.
Both Assemblywoman Jenny Oropeza, chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, and Senator Wes Chesbro, chair of the Senate Budget Committee, cautioned that these are “working documents” and major changes could be made, especially depending on other decisions as the process works its way forward.
* ASSEMBLY APPROPRIATIONS DECIDES ON HOST OF BILLS
Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg, chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, announced that given the bad budget year, many of the bills in his committee would not move forward. This includes literally hundreds of bills that called for studies and reports, as well as major and minor initiatives with cost implications. In fact, Assemblyman Steinberg calculated that the Appropriations Committee was passing only one percent of the amount of spending proposed and submitted to his committee.
Bills of note to health advocates:
* AB 30 (Richman), AB 1527 (Frommer), and AB 1528 (Cohn) were passed out, as “vehicles” for “health access expansions” set for a Conference Committee with Senate. These bills must pass the Assembly by Friday, June 6th to move forward.
* AB 154 (Chan) on the reporting of culturally and linguistically competent care, AB 910 (Diaz) on hospital mergers, and AB 1163 (Frommer) on the retention of children in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, were held by the committee. These bills will stay “on suspense” until January 2004, when they then must pass out of Appropriations Committee and the full Assembly by the end of that month to stay alive and in consideration.
* The committee did pass out several pro-consumer measures, on party line votes: AB 103 (Reyes) on the disclosure of drug company gift to providers, AB 232 (Chan) on consumer protections for self-pay and uninsured hospital patients, and AB 1629 (Frommer) on disclosure of hospital billing. (Frommer’s other bills on the subject, AB 1627 and AB 1628, had passed out previously.) These bills will come to the Assembly Floor within the next week. ACTION: PLEASE CONTACT ASSEMBLY MEMBERS IN SUPPORT OF THESE HEALTH CARE CONSUMER MEASURES.
* CALENDAR ADDITIONS/FLYERS ATTACHED:
* CORRECTION: The BRIEFING on “Health Insurance for Children” by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, is this Friday, MAY 30TH in Sacramento at the State Capitol, and JUNE 9TH in Los Angeles at UCLA. Both events are 10:00am-12noon. Informational flyer ATTACHED. Limited travel awards may be available to facilitate attendance at these meetings. To RSVP, contact Giovanna@gacconsult.com.
* For those in Sacramento in a more action-oriented mode, Justice for Janitors will be holding DAY-LONG ACTION on Friday, MAY 30th, in support of family health benefits. Sacramento-area janitors have their contracts expire on May 31st, and little progress is being made to ensure that these janitors, who work hard and pay taxes, yet do have have health benefits for their families. ATTACHED is a flyer with more information. For more information, contact Ana Godina, SEIU Local 1877, Justice for Janitors, 916-563-6920.
* Also ATTACHED is a flyer and a schedule of the various TOWN HALL MEETINGS sponsored by the Pacific Institute for Community Organization – California Project. Most are SUNDAY, JUNE 8TH, scheduled in cities up and down the state. Over 8,000 people are projected to attend these meetings. For more information, see the schedule for the contact person for the town hall near you.
Anthony E. Wright
1127 11th St., #234, Sacramento, CA 95814
Ph: 916-442-2308, Fx: 916-497-0921