Calif. Legislature Acts on Three Health Care Bills Ahead of Deadline
The California Legislature has taken action on several health care-related bills ahead of Friday's legislative deadline, including those that would require multi-lingual prescription drug labels, limit deductibles for family health plans and protect patients from surprise out-of-network bills.
Details of Rx Drug Label Bill
On Thursday, California lawmakers unanimously approved a bill (AB 1073) that would require pharmacists to provide multi-lingual prescription drug labels and instructions when requested by patients, Kaiser Health News/KQED's "State of Health" reports. The bill now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown (D) (Feder Ostrov, "State of Health," Kaiser Health News/KQED, 9/10).
AB 1073, by Assembly member Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), would require pharmacists to use a standardized set of directions for prescription labels and make available translations in at least five languages:
- Spanish; and
Alternatively, the bill would authorize pharmacists to provide their own translated directions in place of a standardized set (California Healthline, 5/7).
If Brown signs the measure, it would take effect on Jan. 1, 2016, and California would become the second state with such a law ("State of Health," Kaiser Health News/KQED, 9/10).
Details of Deductibles Bill
Currently, some family plans have separate deductibles for individual family members, and others require individuals to reach a larger family deductible.
Under AB 1305, by Assembly member Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), all family health plans would be required to include a:
- Per-individual deductible; and
- Per-individual out-of-pocket limit.
Gov. Brown has until Oct. 11 to sign or veto the measure (Plevin, "KPCC News," KPCC, 9/10).
Details of AB 533
Meanwhile, the state Senate voted 25-10 to approve a bill (AB 533), by Bonta, that aims to protect patients from surprise out-of-network bills when seeking care at an in-network facility, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.
According to state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), the doctors would be able to challenge low payments via a dispute resolution process.
State Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) opposed the bill, noting that it could reduce patients' access to specialists.
The bill, which was sponsored by Health Access California, now returns to the Assembly for final approval (AP/Sacramento Bee, 9/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.