After a burst of health-related activity in January and February, the 2007 session has been relatively quiet — until now.
This week, advocates saw debate on several bills, including two of note:
- AB1635 (Strickland) would have allowed Medi-Cal recipients to voluntarily enroll in high-deductible plans, and use HSA-like “Health Opportunity Accounts.” Health Access California opposed the measure as did Western Center on Law and Poverty. The bill died on Tuesday.
- SB623 (Wiggins) would relieve seniors who are eligible for both Medi-Cal and Medicare to have co-pays for their prescription drugs paid for by Medi-Cal. Last year, when Medicare Part D went into effect, one million of the state’s lowest income seniors (earning about $800 a month) were made worse off when they were shifted into the federal program, and required to pay copays on their multiple prescriptions. Under Medi-Cal, they did not have to pay. An effort to ensure these seniors could continue to get their medications without paying last year failed. Wiggins bill passed Senate Health on Wednesday.
The next two weeks, health committees in the Assembly and Senate will be bursting with activity. Health reform proposals by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez are expected to be heard on Tuesday, April 17. Sen. Sheila Kuehl’s single payer measure, SB840, will be up the next day.
Senate President Don Perata’s health reform bill will be up the following Wednesday April 25. And universal children’s coverage bills will be up the 24th and 25th also.