Legislative Deadline Draws Near

Just two days from the deadline to pass bills off of the floor of their house of origin, both houses held long floor sessions to consider the hundreds of bills before them.  Both the Assembly and the Senate met from 10am to 6pm, the Senate with no breaks, and the Assembly only breaking once for party caucuses.  Though a couple of health bills remain on the file for tomorrow, a great number have already moved forward.

On the Senate side, the Senate passed SB961 (Hernandez), which bans denials or discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, and to limit how much more insurers can charge older Californians in comparison to younger policyholders.  The Assembly bill AB1461 (Monning) which enacts similar protections, passed on Tuesday.

The Assembly passed AB1800 (Ma), which limits out of pocket costs as well as the number of separate deductibles insurers can force consumers to pay.  This will be an important protection for consumers who pay for insurance only to find that they still can not afford the care they need.

Both these bills were subject to lively debate, with opponents casting doubt about “Obamacare.”

Other bills that have passed so far this week include:

AB2039 (Swanson) which expands the definition of family in the family leave law to include the diversity of California families.  This bill also met contentious debate with Republicans labeling it a “job killer” and proponents labeling opponents “family killers”.

SB1410 (Hernandez) improves the independent medical review process to protect consumers from denial of care.

AB1526 (Monning) streamlines and expands eligibility for the State’s high risk insurance pool to make its requirements similar to the federal high risk pool, PCIP.

AB1636 (Monning) creates a process to review and evaluate the effectiveness of wellness incentive programs.

AB1846 (Gordon) which requires the licensing and regulation of Co-Op health plans.

AB2350 (Monning) which requires further regulation of insurance products.

AB1526 (Monning) improving upon the MRMIP program, the state’s high risk pool for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

AB1553 (Monning) allowing exemptions for “dual-eligible” individuals who can not get adequate health care under state mandated managed care.

AB2266 (Mitchell) which creates a health home program to better serve the needs of individuals who frequently utilize emergency room services.

AB 2392 (Perez) which directs the Department of Health Care Services to seek federal funding for interpretation services for Medi-Cal recipients.

AB2508 (Bonilla) which requires call center services to be performed by California workers.

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