Not Just Bills: Legislative Packages This Year!

Health Access is pleased to sponsor a legislative package this year of five bills on preventing unfair out-of-pocket costs for consumers. The first of those, SB248 by Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, to end “junk coverage” offered by large employers, passed out of Assembly Health Committee this Tuesday. The others will be up in the next couple of weeks, and we’ll report on more of them as a package next week.

There’s other important legislative packages that were unveiled this week.

Health Access was pleased to be part of the unveiling of an important immigrant rights legislative pacakage. Under the banner “Immigrants Shape California,” legislative leaders talked about the proud history of immigrants contributing to the Golden State, and urged support for federal comprehensive immigration reform. In the absence of such action, they signaled support for 10 bills to provide greater inclusion and protection for immigrant communities–including SB4(Lara) to expand health coverage.

SB4(Lara) was also included in the California Latino Legislative Caucus’ priority bill list released on Wednesday. The list include combating climate change, making voting registration easier, and other efforts, and it was good to see health coverage on the list.

Finally, Health Access is proud to be part of the Save Lives California, and supporting a package of bills to prevent tobacco use, which will save lives and reduce health care costs for the entire system. One bill, SB140(Leno), to regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco, passed out of Senate Health Committee yesterday. Other bills were presented at a press conference with Senators Pan, Hernandez, and Leno, and Assemblymembers Bonta and Thurmond. In this video, the press conference starts at the 19 minute mark:

Health Access has often supported tobacco taxes, like SB591(Pan), to help reduce youth smoking–especially when some of the revenues generated would go to increased access in Medi-Cal, as is the case in AB1396(Bonta). This year, Health Access is pleased to join other public health and health provider organizations in supporting bills like the e-cigarette regulation, and even AB768(Thurmond), which would ban smokeless tobacco in Major League ballparks, preventing youth from seeing ballplayers use the substance. Health Access is supporting these public health measures, which will also make a beneficial impact on reducing health care costs and improving our health system overall.