The Senate Health Committee met on Wednesday for the last time before the July recess. The meeting began late into the afternoon as a result of the Legislature’s lengthy consideration of budget trailer bills, including that which eliminated the Healthy Families Program.
The Committee began by hearing a number of benefit mandate bills that the Chair held, pending the determination of Essential Health Benefits. Senator Hernandez said again, that he was not prepared to support benefit mandates until after the Essential Health Benefits were determined, and would not be voting on these bills. Among those bills was AB154 (Beall) requiring Mental Health Parity.
The Committee considered a number of bills, that would implement health reform in
California, reinforcing our state’s commitment to move forward regardless of what the Supreme Court decides.
AB1453 (Monning) represents California’s selection of a plan to serve as a benchmark plan, which would set the standard for essential health benefits that all other plans will be required to cover under the Affordable Care Act. The bill designates the Kaiser Small Group plan as that plan, which includes all of the consumer protections required by the Department of Managed Health Care, as well as all existing benefit mandates in state law. It also represents a relatively affordable plan that is already popular with small businesses.
AB1461 (Monning) reforms the individual health insurance market and implements important consumer protections, including ending discrimination based on health status. If this bill is signed into law, no longer will insurers be able to deny people that need coverage the most.
AB1526 (Monning) improves the Major Risk Medical Insurance Program (MRMIP), the state’s high risk pool. Significantly, it eliminates annual and lifetime caps, so that individuals with pre-existing conditions will be protected if they are in need of extremely costly care, and brings the program in line with PCIP, the federally funded high risk pool. This bill earned bipartisan support
AB2392 (Perez) directs the Department of Health Care Services to seek federal dollars to provide interpreter Services for Medi-Cal patients.
Bills that passed out of committee tonight will move on to Appropriations after the recess.
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