They’re off and running!

Friday afternoon, at the Assembly Appropriations Committee, key bills supported by Health Access California, were passed. Next they will move to the Assembly Floor for votes as early as next Tuesday. The deadline for them to pass the full Assembly is next Friday, June 4th, and then it’s off to the Senate to do it all over again.

The bills which passed out include:

· AB 2244 (Feuer), a Health Access sponsored measure which implements guaranteed issue for kids, including phasing-out higher premiums for kids with pre-existing health conditions, and

· AB 1602 (Speaker John Perez) which implements key elements of federal health reform, including creating the California health benefits exchange.

Also of note that passed to the floor include:
· AB 1600 (Beall) which expands parity for mental health and creates parity for substance abuse treatment
· AB1640 (Evans): Breast and cervical cancer screening, amended to be contingent on funding in the budget
· AB1653 (Jones) which would extend the hospital provider fee for six months
· AB 1825 (De La Torre) which requires coverage of maternity services,
· AB1887 (Villines) which implements the new federal high risk pool: an urgency was added. (Health Access is in a support if amended position and wants to see the new high risk pool happen this year.)
· AB2470 (De La Torre) which would set standards for independent review of recissions
· AB2578 (Jones) which requires prior approval of health insurance rate increases
· AB2599 (Bass) which codifies the agreement between LA County and UC to re-open MLK hospital in South LA.

Almost all of these passed on party-line votes.

We’re down to the wire as the deadline for floor action is next Friday and most bills will be voted on Wednesday or Thursday. So please get your letters of support to the full Assembly as soon as possible.

Bills that were held on suspense and will not proceed this year:
· AB1595 (Jones) which would have expanded Medi-Cal eligibility in 2014
· AB1606 (Coto) which would required Medi-Cal to establish specified disease management programs
· AB2025 (De La Torre) which would have implemented the 1115 waiver (both the Speaker and the Pro Tem have measures intended to do this).
· AB2170 (Lowenthal): prescription drug copays

We’ll keep you up to date on the bills in both the Assembly and the Senate as they face crucial consideration next week.

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