HEALTH ACCESS UPDATE

Tuesday, April 13th, 2004

GOOD AND BAD BILLS ON HEALTH COVERAGE TO BE CONSIDERED

From Health Access legislative advocate Beth Capell: The California Legislature is about to consider numerous bills affecting whether consumers can obtain health care when they need it. Letters to a committee are generally due 6 days prior to the hearing to be reflected in the analysis, but letters to committee members are timely up to the time of the hearing. Please click on the bill numbers below to view letter.

Bills That Expand Consumer Protections:

SB1192 (Chesbro) adds substance abuse coverage to existing law. Similar to mental health parity. Sen. Insurance. Wed 4/21.

SB1555 (Speier) adds maternity coverage to health insurance coverage. HMOs are already required to cover prenatal care but insurers can drop it. Prenatal care is cost-effective for the individual and for society. Sen. Insurance Wed 4/21.

AB2185 (Frommer) adds asthma devices such as nebulizers to coverage. Similar to law on diabetes supplies. Assembly Health Tues. 4/20.

Bills That Take Away Protections or Coverage:

AB2996 (Richman) eviscerates coverage by allowing employers and HMOs to pick and choose what to cover. Employers and HMOs can drop any therapy, service or other benefit, including cultural and linguistic access, coverage for broken arms (but not broken legs), prenatal care, family planning, lung cancer (but not skin cancer), etc. Assembly Health Tues 4/13.

AB2985 (McCarthy): suspends SB2, the California Health Insurance Act, for two years whenever unemployment is above 7% for one quarter. Puts at risk health coverage for millions of working Californians. Health coverage helps to fuel economic recoveries by preventing personal bankruptcies. Assembly Health Tues 4/20.

AB2990 (McCarthy): permits health savings accounts to be combined with high deductible HMO coverage. Health savings accounts are great for high income, healthy individuals but bad for people with chronic conditions, those with low or moderate incomes, and women and children who need frequent care. Assembly Health Tues 4/20.

AB2315 (Maldonado): authorizes state income tax deductibility of health savings accounts. Health savings accounts are great for high income, healthy individuals but bad for people with chronic conditions, those with low or moderate incomes, and women and children who need frequent care. Assembly Rev and Tax Mon 4/19.

AB1888 (Nakanishi): authorizes state income tax deductibility of medical savings accounts. Similar to health savings accounts, medical savings accounts are great for high income, healthy individuals but bad for people with chronic conditions, those with low or moderate incomes, and women and children who need frequent care. Assembly Rev and Tax, probably Mon 4/19.



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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