Setting National Policy, CA Governor Brown Signs SB 17 on Prescription Drug Price Transparency

This morning, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 17 by Senator Ed Hernandez, nationally influential prescription drug price legislation, at a rare signing ceremony at the State Capitol. The new law will require prescription drug companies to provide advance notice and explanation for any price hike of more than 16% over two years. Despite a heavy lobbying and media campaign by the pharmaceutical industry opposing the bill, SB 17, strongly backed by a broad coalition of consumer, labor, business, insurer, and other health organizations, eventually won overwhelming bipartisan support with a 66-9 vote in the State Assembly, and a 32-8 vote in the State Senate. The bill was co-sponsored by Health Access, the California Labor Federation, and UNITE HERE. With every […] Read More

Challenges and Opportunities with Congress Back in Session

Congress is back in session today. The good news is that there are bipartisan hearings scheduled, with testimony from a group of bipartisan Governors who last week released a series of recommendations for improving the ACA, including funding the cost-sharing reductions, reinsurance, fixing the family glitch, aggressive outreach and enrollment, and more. The bad news is that the Trump Administration is actually going in the opposite direction. Last week, HHS said that they would be scaling back marketing (by 90%!) and application assistance funding for the upcoming open enrollment period. Thankfully, Covered California raises its own marketing budget, so we have the will & wherewithal to withstand yet another attempt to sabotage the ACA here in our state. For example, […] Read More

Governor Brown Signs Consumer Protection Bills!

Big news for health consumers! Last week, Governor Jerry Brown signed a number of key consumer protection bills, including AB 72 (Bonta, et. al.), which gives millions of California consumers the nation’s strongest protections against surprise out-of-network medical bills. The Governor also signed SB 908 (Hernandez) on unjustified rate increases and SB 1135 (Monning) on patients’ rights marking a momentous year for health consumer protections in California. These bills join SB 923 (Hernandez) to prevent mid-year cost-sharing increases which the Governor signed earlier this month. AB 72 Ends Surprise Out-Of-Network Bills for In-Network Visits After decades of legislative gridlock, two years of intense negotiations, and dozens of impacted patients telling their stories, Californians now have some of the strongest consumer protections […] Read More