HEALTH CARE LEGISLATION: Wilson Breaks Out The Veto Pen
Gov. Wilson vetoed Friday a host of health care related bills, all authored by Democrats. The AP/San Jose Mercury News reports that most "would have imposed new requirements on health maintenance organizations." The vetoed bills are:
- AB 1053 (Helen Thomson, D-Vacaville) would have required health plans to pay for medically necessary vaccines for children. Wilson said the bill "would have paid doctors too much to give the shots" (AP/San Jose Mercury News, 9/13). He said, "This bill is really about how physicians are paid," noting that it would contribute to "increased health care costs."
- AB 790 (Tony Cardenas, D-Panorama City) would have required the state to review the adequacy of prenatal nutrition information for women. Wilson deemed it "[u]nnecessary" in his veto message.
- AB 2171 (Antonio Villaraigosa, D-Los Angeles) would have expanded the new Healthy Families program to include legal immigrants who are not eligible for federal health benefits. "This bill would create a state-only funded program. It is premature to expand this new program," said Wilson in his veto message. Click here to read an original California Healthline story on Latino enrollment in Healthy Families.
- AB 2705 (Kerry Mazzoni, D-Santa Rosa) would have established a state long-term care ombudsman. Wilson called the bill "[o]verly restrictive."
- SB 495 (Herschel Rosenthal, D-Los Angeles) would have increased state disability insurance benefits from $336 per week to $490 per week. Wilson said, "This bill would impose an annual tax in the range of $87 to $102 on 2.9 million California workers, without a corresponding benefit for the majority of these workers" (Gunnison, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/12).
- AB 2516 (Cruz Bustamante, D-Fresno) would have required the state to report to the Legislature each year on the rates Medi-Cal pays doctors and dentists. Wilson said the bill was unnecessary (AP/Mercury News, 9/13).
Wilson Weighs Reconstructive Surgery Bill
Yesterday's Contra Costa Times reports on the circumstances surrounding the passage of AB 1621, which would mandate that health plans pay for reconstructive surgery "not only to restore function, but to make individuals look as normal as possible." Bill sponsor Liz Figueroa (D-Fremont) proposed the bill after seeing a CNN news report that detailed the experiences of many victims of "birth defects, developmental abnormalities, tumors, trauma, infection or disease," whose health plans refused to cover cosmetic surgery resulting from their condition. Figueroa said she "expects Wilson to sign the bill within the month," and is "already thinking about a hospital where she wants to hold the signing ceremony." She said, "I'm just thrilled we could do this. I'm also, really, really pleased about the fact that it came in a time when there is just so much debate about HMO reform. We have to tackle this bit by little bit" (Barker, 9/13).