HEALTH ACCESS UPDATE
Tuesday, April 12th, 2005

ASSEMBLY HEALTH COMMITTEE PASSES KEY CONSUMER BILLS


The Assembly Health Committee, chaired by Assemblywoman Wilma Chan (D-Oakland), passes numerous bills supported by health care and consumer advocates earlier today. These bills need continued support from health advocates as they continue on to other committees later this month.

The bills included nine bills presented in a special order on the subject of the cost and safety of prescription drugs. With over 100 seniors and consumer advocates packing the hearing room at the start of the hearing, the committee voted to support AB 8 (Chu), AB 71 (Chan), AB 72 (Frommer), AB 73 (Frommer), AB 74 (Gordon), AB 75 (Frommer), AB 76 (Frommer), AB 78 (Pavley), and AB 95 (Koretz). After testimony from a range of key organizations, the vote tallies were almost uniformly party-line votes, with Democrats supporting these consumer-friendly bills, and Republicans voting against them or not voting.

The same was true for two measures that passed sponsored by Health Access California: AB 774 (Chan) to prevent hospital overcharging and other unfair billing practices, and AB 977 (Nava) to provide public oversight of rising out-of-pocket costs of health plans. Also passing with some Republican support was AB 624 (Montanez), to streamline enrollment of children from the Child Health and Disability Prevention Program into the Medi-Cal and Healthy Families program.

For a selected list of bills that are of interest to health care consumer advocates, as well as links to the actual bills and a letter analyzing the bill, visit the Health Access website at:
http://www.health-access.org/2005_bills.htm

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

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