From our inimitable lobbyist, Beth Capell:
On Monday, August 4, the Legislature reconvened for the last three or perhaps four weeks of action. The Senate Appropriations Committee convened at 10AM with a full agenda of over 200 bills and was still meeting 10 hours later when the last of the Health Access measures had been dispensed with.
On the long list of bills of interest to consumers:
- AB1203 Salas: balance billing by doctors and hospitals for post-stabilization care, that is care received after an emergency patient is stable enough to be transferred to a contracting hospital or released. Health Access supports.
- AB1945 DeLaTorre: rescission of individual coverage: creates an internal DMHC/DOI review and changes the standard in existing law so that coverage can only be rescinded if a consumer willfully misrepresents, a higher standard than existing law.
- AB2146 Feuer: no pay for never events, like cutting off the wrong leg or surgery on the wrong patient.
- AB2549 Hayashi: rescission of individual coverage limited to 18 months after coverage is issued.
- AB2569 DeLeon: rescission of individual coverage: duty of brokers to be accurate and requirement that family members be covered rather than rescinded.
- AB2741 Torrico: health impact analyses for all hospital transactions, not just those involving non-profit hospitals which are already overseen by the Attorney General
- AB2910 Huffman: requiring public disclosure and oversight of waivers of the Knox-Keene act. Over the last 30 years, more than a dozen major waivers have been granted with no public input and no public oversight.
- AB2942 Ma: standardizing and extending hospital community benefit report
AB2569 passed 8-3. All the rest of the bills went off to suspense. The suspense hearings in both the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committee are set for Thursday, August 7. AB2967 (Lieber) on cost and quality data transparency will be heard the same day in Senate Appropriations.
Floor votes on measures that pass the Appropriations Committee will happen the weeks of August 11 and August 18.
Behind the scenes and sometimes in public view as during yesterday’s Appropriations hearing, frantic work continues on getting amendments done. The Legislature hopes to adjourn on August 22. That means the deadline for all amendments is functionally Thursday, August 14—and that means amendments must be drafted a few days before that. In a practical sense, all the deals must be cut, all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed this week. Or we can just wait until next year. It makes it a busy week for those who try to get legislation passed and signed.