Governor Brown Signs Bill to Improve Oversight of Health Plan Mergers

Last Friday, September 7th, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 595 by Assemblymember Jim Wood which institutes stronger state oversight over health plan mergers, in a big win for patients and the public interest. With concerns about rising premiums, fewer choices, and competition in health insurance, Governor Brown is right to protect consumers with stronger oversight of health […] Read More

Budget Subcommittees Review DHCS and DMHC budget items

Last week, the Legislature’s budget subcommittees on health and human services held hearings on the budgets for the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC). Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 (March 14, 2016) The agenda, which includes details about each item heard, can be accessed here. Health Access […] Read More

Blue Shield Tries To Back Out Of $140 Million Commitment to California Communities

When nonprofit insurer Blue Shield California made a $1.2 billion bid to acquire Care1st, a Medi-Cal managed care plan serving 500,000 Southern California patients, it agreed to conditions set forth by DMHC (Department of Managed Health Care), including a commitment to increase its investment in the state’s safety net by an additional $140 million over 10 […] Read More

Covered California Board Meeting: Highlights from August 20, 2015

This Covered California board meeting featured a discussion of a vision benefit proposal and agents’ payments and responsibilities, both for action next month; the release of rates for 2016, an update on the redesigned navigator program; and a hearty welcome to new Board member and former Senator and Democratic Party Chair Art Torres (see his […] Read More

The Latest on Health Care Bills

This week, the Assembly and Senate Health Committee as well as the Committees on Governmental Organization and Business and Professions heard a number of bills, including key health measures, including Medi-Cal Estate Recovery (SB 33), County Organized Health Systems (SB 260), Rate Review for Large Group Insurers (SB 546)–all passing out of committee. The big […] Read More

DMHC Hearing on Blue Shield Acquisition of Care1st Gets at Larger Questions on Nonprofit Obligations

Yesterday’s hearing (covered today in the LA Times) on nonprofit Blue Shield of California and its bid to acquire for-profit Medicaid managed care plan Care1st provided better clarity on the issues at stake in the $1.25 billion transaction, and little reason to doubt whether the assets Blue Shield proposes to use should be subject to charitable trust obligations. The comment period […] Read More

California Health Reform 2011 Year in Review

HEALTH ACCESS UPDATEMonday, November 28, 2011 CALIFORNIA HEALTH REFORM 2011 YEAR IN REVIEW:BIG EARLY BENEFITS, CONTINUTED PROGRESS TO GET READY* County-Based, Federally-Matched Low-Income Health Plans Enroll 200,000* New Options for Those With Pre-existing Conditions, including 5,000 in PCIP* New Consumer Protections Adopted, from Maternity Coverage to Medical Loss Ratios* Californians Save Hundreds of Millions as […] Read More

HMO Reform Redux

Legislative Legerdemain: Part 2: HMO Reform Redux Earlier this evening, the Assembly passed AB922(Monning) in a final floor vote, and this bill, to improve consumer assistance, goes to the Governor for his consideration. The bill, which augments the Office of Patient Advocates (OPA), moves both the OPA and the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), […] Read More

New appointments, including at DMHC…

From the Governor’s website today: Brent Barnhart, 68, of Danville, has been appointed director of the Department of Managed Health Care. Barnhart was senior counsel at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan from 1996 to 2009 and a policy committee consultant to the California State Assembly from 1993 to 1996. He was the legislative affairs director at […] Read More