GOV. DAVIS: More Ink from the Veto/Signing Pens
In further activity this week, Gov. Gray Davis vetoed three health care bills -- including one which would have given authority to the state attorney general to oversee health plan mergers. The following are some of the bills Davis did not sign:
- AB 351 by Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), which would have required the attorney general to review and approve mergers and other acquisitions involving health care service plans to ensure continuing competition in the industry. Is his veto message, Davis said that the responsibility to review the mergers should reside with his newly created Department of Managed Care, rather than with the attorney general. He indicated that he would sign "carefully crafted legislation" that would grant that department such authority.
- SB 1047 by Sen. Kevin Murray (D-Los Angeles), which would have required the state's Health and Human Services Agency to develop a report by the end of the year regarding the possibility of consolidating Medi-Cal, Healthy Families and the Access for Infants and Mothers programs. In his veto message, Davis reiterated his opposition to converting Healthy Families into an entitlement program. He said that combining the programs would inhibit enrollment into Healthy Families and be detrimental to the program's success.
- SB 1053 by Sen. Charles Poochigian (R-Fresno), which would require a health care service plan to allow a patient to obtain covered services from any participating physician outside of the patient's service area under specified conditions. Davis said that the comprehensive package of HMO reforms he recently signed provides consumers with the services they need to receive adequate coverage. He argued that signing the bill would substantially increase premiums (Office of the Governor release, 10/10).
Davis did sign other health care bills, however, including:
- AB 271 by Assemblyman Martin Gallegos (D-Baldwin Park). This bill makes various changes to the Medical Practice Act, specifically as it relates to procedures performing in outpatient settings.
- AB 784 by Assemblywoman Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles). This bill enhances the Medi-Cal fraud initiative contained in Governor Davis' 1999-2000 budget by requiring certain Medi-Cal providers to provide a bond or other security of at least $25,000, giving the Department of Health Services financial protection against losses due to provider fraud and billing abuses. AB 784 also provides DHS with the authority to audit the records of Medi-Cal providers and suppliers to ensure invoices submitted and reimbursed are valid.
- AB 1252 by Assemblyman Scott Wildman (D-Los Angeles). This bill adds a podiatrist, an acupuncturist and two additional physicians to the membership of the Industrial Medical Council. AB 1252 also increases the biennial renewal fee for a certificate to practice podiatric medicine from $800 to $900. The IMC currently consists of doctors of medicine, chiropractors psychologists and osteopaths; however, there are no podiatrists nor acupuncturists.
- SB 1270 by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. This bill, an administration measure, makes changes to eliminate barriers to the availability of Medi-Cal benefits to children receiving non-federal Adoption Assistance Program benefits. SB 1270 also authorizes the directors of the Department of Health and Department of Social Services to enter into interstate compacts for special needs children (Office of the Governor release, 10/11).