HEALTH LEGISLATION: Various Bills Should Be Approved
An editorial in today's San Jose Mercury News argues that "[m]ore than most legislation, several health care bills now pending in Sacramento could make an immediate, tangible improvement in the daily lives of thousands of Californians." Having tracked the respective bills' progress, the editors write that the highest priorities for passage should be:
- AB 88: Mental health parity, sponsored by Assemblywoman Helen Thomson (D-Vacaville), would require insurers to pay for serious mental illness as they do for physical illness.
- AB 1160: Nursing home reform, sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Kevin Shelley (D-San Francisco), would increase nurse staffing ratios, boost Medi-Cal reimbursements and toughen penalties for non-compliant facilities.
- SB 21: HMO liability, by state Sen. Liz Figueroa (D-Fremont), would grant patients denied medically necessary care the right to sue their HMOs.
- SB 41: Contraceptive coverage, by state Sen. Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo), would require insurers to pay for birth control.
- SB 1111: Asthma prevention and control, by state Sen Byron Sher (D-Redwood City), would create a statewide program.
- AB 394: Safe Staffing, by Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl (D-Encino), would set strict nurse-to-patient ratios at acute care hospitals.
- AB 34: Homeless Mentally Ill, by Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg, (D-Sacramento), would pay counties that proactively treat mentally ill people who risk incarceration or homelessness.