On Wednesday, the Senate Health Committee continued the important and urgent work to implement the Affordable Care Act, but the Supreme Court decision did loom in some of the discussion.
The following measures related to the ACA passed the committee, with supportive comments from Health Access and other consumer and community groups:
* AB1800, authored by Assemblywoman Ma, co-sponsored by Health Access and the MS Society, to limit out-of-pocket costs, as proposed by the ACA.
* AB1636(Monning), to create a committee to study workplace wellness programs, the evidence on which are effective and which are not, and which avoid unintended consequences. Promoting wellness is an important part of implementing the ACA.
* AB1761(John A. Perez), to prevent any unauthorized entity representing the California Health Benefit Exchange.
* AB1846(Gordon), to regulate CO-OPs, new health plan option under the ACA.
* AB2266(Mitchell), to encourage enhanced health homes for frequent hospital uses with chronic conditions.
* AB2350(Monning), to require more disclosure and information about the insurance market, which would better help regulators enforce the ACA.
The one ACA bill that was defeated was SB1321(Harman), which would have halted implementation of the Exchange and other parts of the ACA without a study on what the state would do if the Supreme Court blocked all or part of the law. Proponents falsely argued that the state would be financially on the hook for coverage expansions if the law was struck down (in fact, the expansions wouldn’t happen). After expressing hope and confidence that the Supreme Court would uphold the ACA, the bill’s opponents and Democratic Senators said whlie planning for every eventuality was important, the bill was too broad. This thinly-veiled attack on the ACA failed.