Health Care Bills Clear California Legislature as Session Wraps Up
California lawmakers ended the legislative session on Sunday, taking action on hundreds of measures, the Sacramento Bee reports (Rojas, Sacramento Bee, 9/1).
Highlights of health care-related bills appear below.
On Friday, the Assembly approved SB 840 by Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica). The measure would create a state-run, single-payer health care system in California using state and federal funds, patient premiums and copayments capped at $250 per person or $500 per family annually.
Lisa Page, a spokesperson for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), said the governor would veto the measure. He rejected a similar proposal in 2006 (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 8/29).
The Legislature approved AB 1945 by Assembly member Hector De La Torre (D-South Gate). The bill would permit health insurers to rescind health insurance policies only under specific conditions and would subject rescissions to review by state regulators.
In addition, the Assembly signed off on AB 2569 by Assembly member Kevin DeLeon (D-Los Angeles). The measure would require health insurers to maintain coverage for family members of people whose health insurance coverage has been rescinded.
Gov. Schwarzenegger has not taken a position on AB 1945, but he has urged lawmakers to bar insurers from terminating coverage for people with illnesses (Vogel, Los Angeles Times, 9/1).
The Senate has approved AB 2 by Assembly member Mervyn Dymally (D-Compton). The legislation would require health plans to offer coverage to people considered medically uninsurable because of pre-existing medical conditions or contribute to a state account that subsidizes insurance for them (McGreevy, Los Angeles Times, 8/27).
The Legislature rejected SB 1522, which would have broken health plans into five categories as part of an effort to make it easier for consumers to compare coverage options (Sacramento Bee, 9/1).
The Senate approved AB 211 by Assembly member Dave Jones (D-Sacramento).
The bill would require hospitals to develop plans to protect patients' medical information. The measure also would establish a new state Office of Health Information Integrity, which would be authorized to issue fines of up to $250,000 for patient privacy breaches (Los Angeles Times, 8/27).
The Assembly approved the measure on Aug. 31 (Bill history, 8/31).
The Senate also has approved SB 541 by Sen. Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara), which would increase fines against hospitals for serious medical errors from $50,000 to $125,000 (Los Angeles Times, 8/27).
The Legislature has approved a SB 1601 by Sen. Gloria Negrete-McLeod (D-Chino). The measure would grant access to the state retiree vision care plan to lawmakers who have served at least six years in the Legislature (Maclachlan, Capitol Weekly, 8/28).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.