Big votes in CA Assembly and Senate to Ban Pre-Existing Condition Denials

Yesterday, both houses of the California Legislature passed key legislation to provide new consumer protections to prevent denials because of pre-existing conditions, and provide other crucial insurer oversight, as provided for in the federal Affordable Care Act. These bills are crucial to get California ready to take advantage of the benefits available starting in January 1, 2014, so pre-existing conditions are a thing of the past.  California needs to move quickly on health reform implementation, new insurance consumer protections, and Medicaid expansion, so we are ready to start enrolling Californians in new options and new coverage in October of this year–in less than seven short months.

The bills passed were AB x1 2 and SB x1 2, the consumer protections to prevent denials because of pre-existing conditions, and other rules governing the individual insurance market. This state legislation is needed to give state regulators the authority to enforce the law, and to decide on details to adapt these new consumer protections to the California market. The goal is not just banning denials or discrimination due to pre-existing conditions, but to get insurers to actually compete on cost and quality and customer service, rather than on avoiding sick people. Californians no longer have to make crucial life choices like career and marriage constrained in order to get health coverage. 

The bills passed on a party-line vote, with only Democratic Assembly Members Nancy Skinner and Mariko Yamada absent or abstaining.

The bills now each go to the second house, for final amendments, on an expedited special session timeline.
Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.