HEALTH ACCESS ALERT

Monday, April 5th, 2004

UPCOMING HEARINGS ON HEALTH

* Major Health Bills Up in Assembly Health Committee, Tuesday, April 13th

* Budget Subcommittee Hearings on Health Cuts, Monday, April 12th

ASSEMBLY HEALTH COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER KEY BILLS

The Assembly Health Committee, chaired by Assemblywoman Rebecca Cohn, will

vote on a number of important consumer health bills on TUESDAY APRIL 13 1:30

PM, at Rm. 4202 of State Capitol. A list of all the Assemblymembers that are

part of the Health Committee is ATTACHED. Here are some of the issues and bills

that will be considered:

OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS: AB2289 (Chan), sponsored by Health Access, begins to

address the issue of out-of-pocket costs for the insured. Costs for

consumers are skyrocketing: as premiums climb, employers are shifting costs

to working families through higher share of premium, higher co-pays,

deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. AB2289 requires the Department of

Managed Health Care and the Department Insurance to gather detailed

information on what people with insurance are paying. This is a crucial step

in getting costs for consumers under control. A sample letter is ATTACHED. Please

write in support!

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: Several bills this year, sponsored by a range of

consumer, senior, labor, and health care organizations, attempt to address

the rising costs of prescription drugs. A coalition press conference is

scheduled for earlier that day. A full list of the bills is available at:

http://www.health-access.org/ourx_bill_rights.htm.

* AB1957 (Frommer): Websites for purchase of prescription drugs from Canada.

* AB1959 (Chu): Legislative oversight of Medi-Cal and other state

government prescription drug rebate programs.

* AB1960 (Pavley): Regulation of PBMs

* AB2326 (Corbett): Prescription Drug Report Card on efficacy and safety.

(In addition, SB1149 (Ortiz) on websites for purchase of prescription drugs

from Canada is scheduled to be heard in the SENATE BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS

COMMITTEE, on MONDAY APRIL 12, at 1:30 PM.)

DATA COLLECTION: AB2324 (Chan) sponsored by California Pan-Ethnic Health

Network and Latino Coalition for a Healthy California requires collection of

data on race and ethnicity plus a task to eliminate underlying determinants

of racial and ethnic health disparities. Health Access supports.

SCHOOL ENROLLMENT: AB2270 (Chan) sponsored by Consumers Union streamlines

school based Medi-Cal administrative activities. Health Access supports.

BAD BILL ON SUBSTANDARD BENEFITS: AB2996 (Richman) allows substandard HMO

benefit packages: it allows employers buying coverage to exclude “therapies,

procedures, interventions, drugs, injectables, illnesses, conditions, and

any other cost items” without regard for existing law. This means that an

employer could exclude coverage of AIDS treatments, contraception, mental

health, cancer, diabetes, or anything else they felt like. It means an

employer could purchase coverage only for hospital care and not doctors. Or

only for chiropracters and acupuncture but not doctors or hospitals. It is

simply whatever the HMO and the employer agree on. It undermines the

consumer protections that have been fought for over many years. A sample

letter in opposition is ATTACHED. Please write in opposition!

HEALTH BUDGET HEARINGS ON MONDAY, APRIL 12th:

Budget Subcommittees on Health will consider key health cuts on Monday,

April 12th.

* The ASSEMBLY BUDGET SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING ON KEY HEALTH CUTS is scheduled

for Monday April 12, at 4:00pm, Room 444.

* The SENATE BUDGET SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING ON KEY HEALTH CUTS is also

scheduled for Monday April 12, at 1:30pm.



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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