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:
* 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,
* 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
1127 11th St., #234, Sacramento, CA 95814
Ph: 916-442-2308, Fx: 916-497-0921