California Legislators Approve, Reject Health Care-Related Measures
On Monday, the Assembly voted 60-0 to pass a bill (AB 1887) that would create a high-risk insurance program for about 30,000 residents who cannot get coverage because of pre-existing conditions, the AP/Monterey County Herald reports.
According to bill author Assembly member Mike Villines (R-Clovis), the bill will help the state secure $761 million from the federal government to fund the program until 2014.
The bill is among several measures moving through the Legislature that aim to align California's health care system with the requirements of the new federal health reform law.
The bill now goes to the Senate, which has until the end of June to take action (AP/Monterey County Herald, 6/14).
Senate Committee Rejects Pension Reform Bill
Also on Monday, the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee voted 4-2 to defeat a bill (SB 919) that would have reduced pension benefits for newly hired state workers, the AP/San Jose Mercury News reports. Committee members voted along party lines, with Democrats rejecting the bill.
The bill, by Senate Minority Leader Dennis Hollingsworth (R-Murrieta), would have required most new state employees to contribute more to their pension funds and work 10 additional years to qualify for retirement benefits. Hollingsworth said the measure would have reduced state spending by $110 billion over 30 years.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) criticized the committee's decision in a statement, saying, "Every year we are diverting more and more money away from higher education, health and human services, public safety, parks and environmental protection to pay for unsustainable retiree costs, and without action, those costs will keep skyrocketing."
Hollingsworth said he plans to revisit pension reform issues during budget negotiations this summer (Thompson, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 6/14).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.