Health Care Bills Making Their Way Through Legislature
The Senate Health Committee on Wednesday will consider SB 840 by committee Chair Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles), the AP/Los Angeles Daily News reports. The bill would create a state-run, single-payer health care system in California.
The Legislature last year approved the bill, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) vetoed it.
Sabrina Lockhart, a spokesperson for the governor, said the governor still opposes the measure.
Kuehl says she expects the bill to win Legislative approval. She said she expects another lawmaker to reintroduce it in 2009 if the governor again vetoes the measure (Lawrence, AP/Los Angeles Daily News, 4/16).
The Senate Health Committee on Wednesday will hear SB 850 by Sen. Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria), a bill that would direct the state to issue a "certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth," the Sacramento Bee reports (Lin, Sacramento Bee, 4/15).
The committee last week gave Maldonado one week to modify provisions of the bill after committee members and interest groups voiced concerns about implications of the bill (California Healthline, 4/12).
Abortion-rights advocates say the measure could lead to wider restrictions on the service because it could define a fetus as a person.
The California Medical Association and the California chapter of the National Organization for Women have voiced concerns that issuing such certificates could detract from the accuracy of state vital statistics (Sacramento Bee, 4/15).
The Assembly Health Committee last week rejected a bill (AB 93) by Assembly member Bonnie Garcia (R-Cathedral City) to study a ban on trans fats, the Palms Springs Desert Sun reports (Henshaw, Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/13).
The committee last month approved legislation (AB 97) by Assembly member Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) that would ban the use of trans fats in oils, margarine and shortening at "food facilities," including restaurants, cafeterias and other businesses (California Healthline, 3/7). The measure is pending in the Appropriations Committee.
A third bill (AB 86) related to a trans fat ban was introduced by Assembly member Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) and is pending in the Assembly Education Committee. Lieu's legislation seeks to ban trans fat in schools (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/13).
The Assembly Health Committee unanimously backed a bill (AB 34) by Assembly member Anthony Portantino (D-Pasadena) to create a public cord-blood collection program, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Stem cells from cord blood can be used to help treat leukemia, sickle-cell anemia and other blood-related conditions.
The program would be free and voluntary, and ethnic minorities would be particularly targeted for outreach because minority populations typically face more obstacles locating donors for bone marrow transplants. The bill aims to launch the donation program by 2009.
No group has registered opposition to the bill. It is expected to go before the full Assembly by May (Folmar, San Jose Mercury News, 4/14).
The Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday is scheduled to consider a bill (SB 147) by Sen. Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield) that would provide $1 million in state funding to a research project working to develop a vaccine for valley fever, the Fresno Bee reports. The Senate Health Committee unanimously has approved the bill.
Valley fever is a respiratory illness caused by a fungus found in the soil in some parts of California and the Southwest. The Department of Health Services says 1,086 cases were reported in 2006 in California.
However, vaccine advocates assert that the disease is underreported and that there are about 150,000 cases annually.
Under the bill, the Department of Public Health would be charged with disbursing the funds (Schultz, Fresno Bee, 4/15).