Governor Reverses Veto Threat, Takes Action on Hundreds of Bills
Before the midnight deadline Sunday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) signed 478 of the 707 bills before him, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The governor's last-minute actions included vetoes and signings on a number of health care-related measures (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 10/13).
Although Schwarzenegger previously threatened to veto all legislation if lawmakers failed to strike a deal to resolve water issues, he backed down from his threat because he said legislators had achieved significant progress in water negotiations (Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12).
The governor said he would call a special legislative session to discuss water issues sometime this week.
The bills that Schwarzenegger approved will take effect Jan. 1, 2010. Summaries of the health-related bills he signed appear below.
- SBX318 by Sen. Denise Ducheny (D-San Diego) aims to reduce the state's prison population to 25,000, down 20,000 from its current level (Bailey/Halper,Â Los Angeles Times, 10/12). In August, a panel of federal judges cited overcrowding as the primary driver of inadequate health care in the prison system (California Healthline, 8/5).
- SB 630 by Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) amends current state law to require insurers to cover medically necessary dental and orthodontic services for cleft palates.
- AB 108 by Assembly member Mary Hayashi (D-Castro Valley) bars insurers from rescinding, canceling or limiting individual coverage because of fraud after someone has had a policy for two years (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/13).
- AB 119 by Assembly member Dave Jones (D-Sacramento) prohibits health insurance companies from charging different premium rates based on gender.
- SB 148 by Sen. Jenny Oropeza (D-Long Beach) requires clinicians who conduct mammograms to publicize any health violations identified by a Department of Health inspection.
- AB 1383 also by Jones imposes a fee on hospitals in order to draw down increased federal reimbursements for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program. In his signing message, Schwarzenegger noted that separate legislation will be necessary to implement the bill (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 10/12).
- AB 1544 by Jones and Assembly member Nathan Fletcher (R-San Diego) aims to streamline the approval process for hospital-operated outpatient primary care clinics (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 10/12).
Summaries of health-related bills that Schwarzenegger rejected appear below.
- SB 674 by Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino) would have established greater oversight for fertility clinics. Schwarzenegger said the bill did not go far enough in enacting stronger regulations (Los Angeles Times, 10/12).
- SB 161 by Sen. Roderick Wright (D-South Central Los Angeles) would have required insurers to expand coverage of orally administered cancer drugs.
- SB 820 also by Negrete McLeod would have permitted the Medical Board of California to get involved in physician discipline cases earlier (Sacramento Business Journal, 10/12).
- AB 2 by Assembly member Hector De La Torre (D-South Gate) would have restricted the ability of health insurers to rescind an individual's health insurance policy. Schwarzenegger said the bill would have benefited attorneys more than consumers.
- AB 98 also by De La Torre would have required health insurers to cover maternity services. Schwarzenegger said the bill would contribute to rising health care costs. This is the third time the governor has vetoed such a measure (Sacramento Bee, 10/12).
- AB 120 by Hayashi was intended to boost the oversight and discipline system for doctors in California (Sacramento Business Journal, 10/12).
- AB 513 by Assembly member Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) would have required health plans to cover lactation consultation and breast pump rental. Schwarzenegger said this bill would increase health care costs.
- AB 911 by Assembly member Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) sought to ease emergency department overcrowding by requiring hospitals to calculate ED crowding scores. Schwarzenegger said the bill was unnecessary (Sacramento Bee, 10/12).