Legislature Passes Individual Market Reforms

Both houses of the California Legislature met today in the First Extraordinary Session in order to consider bills that reform the individual health insurance market.  

ABX1 2 (Pan) and SBX1 2 (Hernandez) reform the individual market, putting into place the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that protect consumers from abusive insurance industry practices such as discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions, and charging older people exorbitant prices.  These new rules will protect consumers who purchase insurance on their own from being taken advantage of by insurers.  The bills also codify in California law, some additional reforms in the Small Group market from the ACA.

Opponents of the bill revived some old arguments about slowing down our implementation of ACA and waiting and seeing.  Largely, opponents acknowledged that the ACA is the law of the land and is not going away, with the exception of Assemblymember Tim Donnelly, who likened health reform to the Titanic, and urged his colleagues to abandon ship.  Other opponents of the bills argued that sharp increases in rates that have been projected by some are reason to abandon reform efforts.

In his closing remarks, Senator Ed Hernandez pointed out that while some people would in fact experience increases in their health insurance rates, many others would also see tremendous reductions; and that others who have been excluded from purchasing insurance by price or policy would now be able to get comprehensive quality coverage.  Hernandez urged his colleagues to support the bill because it is the right thing to do for the health care system and the people of California.

ABX1 2 passed the floor with 29 votes in support, 9 opposed.  SBX1 2 passed the Assembly with 51 votes in support, 25 opposed.  

Next, the bills move on to the Governor’s desk for his consideration.  These bills would take effect 90 days after the end of the special legislative session.

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