The Assembly Health Committee, chaired by Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally, meets today. The big news item will be the debate on trans-fats in restaurants.
There’s a couple of bills that Health Access California will be supporting, including an expansion of Medi-Cal of seniors and people with disabilities. I would like to spotlight another bill, AB51 (Dymally), about Medicare Part D.
It’s a simple bill, to have California create a report card for the new private Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. Right now, there’s very little oversight over these plans. A Health Access report last year found that some of these plans are not being watched at even the state or federal level.
The problem is that seniors have little ability to compare plans, yet they are forced to choose on a yearly basis. The state has a model for a solution: the HMO report card, which reports on a variety of factors. The bill proposes expanding that report to include Part D plans.
Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill last year authored by Assemblywoman Chan, and sponsored by Health Access California. We hope to figure something out this year, working with groups like Congress of California Seniors, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, and Senior Action Network.