HEALTH ACCESS UPDATE

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004


PROPOSITION 72 & LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

  • Vetoes Likely on Prescription Drugs; Other Bills Signed
  • Prop 72 Polls, Opposition Ads, and Events
  • Conferences on Health Reform; Health Advocates Calendar



ADVOCATES AWAIT PRESCRIPTION DRUG VETOES BY GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER

VETOES: Thursday is the last day that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger can sign or veto bills sent to him this legislative year. As previously reported, the Governor has vetoed many bills of interest to health care advocates, including consumer protections for self-pay hospital patients, pregnant women in health plans, and community members that are seeing hospitals close in their area.

DRUG BILLS: The highest-profile measures left on the Governor’s desk are the eight bills dealing with prescription drugs costs. These include four that facilitate the reimportation of drugs from Canada as a way to save on their very high costs. The Governor has signalled that he intends to veto these bills, calling them “illegal,” even though Governors of both parties from other states has signed similar measures into law. On Monday, legislators, seniors, and consumer advocates urged the Governor to sign the bills, and referred to studies that show that the Administration’s “alternative” proposal would not provide significant relief to seniors and others who purchase prescription drugs, especially in comparison to the legislation on the Governor’s desk.

OTHER BILLS SIGNED: While many health consumer measures have been vetoed or are expected to be vetoed, there were a few bills supported by consumer groups like Health Access California that were signed into law. They include:

  • CHILD ASTHMA: AB2185 (Frommer), to ensure that pediatric asthma devices such as inhaler spacers, nebulizers, and peak flow meters are included in health coverage.
  • EXPRESS ENROLLMENT: SB1196 (Cedillo), to permit information from a school lunch application to be used to determine eligibility for Healthy Families and other insurance programs, with parental consent.

The lists of his signatures and vetoes is at the Governor’s website, under “Press Room”, then “Press Releases,” and then in daily “Legislative Update” posts:

http://www.governor.ca.gov/state/govsite/gov_homepage.jsp

To keep on top of what health consumer legislation has been signed and vetoed, visit the legislative corner of the Health Access website, at:

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

PROPOSITION 72 POLLS WELL; A SECOND OPPOSITION AD APPEARS; EVENTS UPCOMING

POLLS: Proposition 72, the referendum on the health care measure to protect and expand on-the-job health coverage, is faring well in recent polls. Last Friday’s Los Angeles Times reports that 51% of voters would vote for the measure, while 31% would vote against it, and the rest are currently undecided. The poll was taken a week after the opposition started to run their first television ad, featuring a man and woman discussing Proposition 72 at a kitchen table. The LA Times poll is within the margin of error of other polls that have been released recently.

ADS: This week, a new opposition ad has appeared, featuring a woman discussing the impact of Proposition 72 on a small restaurant, one that would seemingly be exempt under the measure. Supporters of Proposition 72 have prepared a rebuttal, on their “Save Your Healthcare” website at:

http://www.yesonprop72.com/site/pp.asp?c=efIOISMEG&b=199245

SACRAMENTO RALLY: Supporters of Proposition 72 will join California Treasurer Phil Angelides, as well as leaders from the medical, consumer, senior, religious, and labor communities to rally for the measure and to “make sure that large corporations pay their fair share for health care.” The mini-rally will be MONDAY, OCTOBER 4th, at 11:00AM, in front of the State Treasurer’s Office at 915 Capitol Mall in SACRAMENTO. For more information, contact the Yes on Prop 72 Campaign at 510-663-4074.

LEGISLATIVE HEARING: Next week, the California State Assembly and Senate Health Committees are scheduled to convene an informational hearing on Proposition 72 on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 5th, in Sacramento. They plan to have a panels of impartial experts, supporters, and opponents, as well as time for public comment.


CONFERENCES ON HEALTH ISSUES; OTHER EVENTS OF NOTE

There are many events, actions, conferences, and activities of interest to health advocates being planned for October and November. The online Health Advocates Calendar lists many of these events and has the relevant information. You can peruse the calendar at:

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

If your organization is planning a public event of interest to health advocates, please let Health Access know so we can help publicize it. You can add events to the calendar at:

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

Three southern California conferences in October promise to discuss the big picture issues with regard to our health care system. They include:

  • Monday, October 4th: UCLA conference: “Health Care in California: Confronting the Future, A Conference for California Leaders.” A non-partisan conference at UCLA with other California leaders from government, business, labor, and the community and media interested in effectively confronting the health care issues facing the state. Co-chaired by California Assemblymembers Keith Richman, MD, and Joe Nation, PhD, confirmed speakers also include: Dr. Albert Carnesale, Chancellor, University of California, Los Angeles; Sandra Shewry, Director of CA Department of Health Services; Robert Brook, M.D., Vice President, RAND; Professor of Medicine and Health Services, UCLA; E. Richard Brown, Ph.D., Director, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research; Thomas Garthwaite, M.D., Director, Department of Health Services, County of Los Angeles; Daniel Higgins, M.D., President, Los Angeles County Medical Association; Thomas Priselac, President/CEO, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. (Similar conferences will be held on November 18, 2004 at Fresno State, and December 1, 2004 at UC Berkeley). You can register on line for a conference at www.communicationsinstitute.org or call 626-796-4747 for information. The registration fee is $75 and includes the conference program, the special RAND Report, other publications, and meals.
  • Tuesday, October 12th: Loma Linda University event: “American Health Care Congress: A Brighter Future for American Health Care” at the DoubleTree Hotel in Ontario, California. Organized by CodeBlueNow!, Loma Linda University School of Public Health, and West End Community Action Network, and sponsored by The California Endowment and First 5 San Bernardino. Speakers includ John Kitzhaber, MD, former Governor of Oregon; Richard Hart, Chancellor and CEO of Loma Linda University; Kathleen O’Connor, founder, CodeBlueNow!, and other academic and medical experts “in a dialogue of what a health care system should do and how it could be financed and managed.” Telephone registration is at: 909-558-4595, or 800-854-5661. For more information, go to www.llu.edu/sphevents
  • Wednesday, October 20th: Forum at UCLA: “Building a National Health Policy Plan for President Bush or President Kerry.” Roundtable topics will be discussed by senior elected officials, healthcare experts and representatives of advocacy groups and the healthcare industry, including those from Pacific Research Institute, Service Employers International Union (SEIU), RAND Corporation, California Medical Association, AARP, AFL-CIO, AstraZeneca, Aventis, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, American Health Care Association, California Association of Nurse Practioners, Cedars Sinai Hospital, McKesson Corporation, California Healthcare Association, Alzheimer’s Association, Bush/Cheney 2004, Kerry/Edwards 2004, CapGemini, California Chamber of Commerce, WebMD Corporation, Milken Institute/Faster Cures, National Federation of Independent Business, Solucient, and Ernst & Young. REGISTRATION FREE FOR HEALTH ACCESS MEMBERS and allies, but it is on a first come first serve basis (seats are limited and the regular registration is $50.00). Registration includes coffee breaks, buffet lunch, forum materials and a post-event reception. Please register for the forum at event website: http://www.caforum.org (click on “free registration”).


JOIN HEALTH ACCESS ONLINE!

Do you appreciate these E-mail updates, and the other resources provided by Health Access California in your organization’s health care advocacy? If so, please consider join dozens of other groups in becoming a member of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. Our goal is to achieve quality, affordable health care for all, and to assist our member organization in their advocacy on behalf of their constituency. Your organization can join online, at:

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

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