Lawmakers Send Health Plan Protection Bills to Gov. Brown
On Monday, California lawmakers sent Gov. Jerry Brown (D) two bills (ABX1-2 and SBX1-2) that would prevent health plans from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The Assembly passed ABX1-2 -- by Assembly member Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) --Â in a 49-20 vote. Meanwhile, the Senate passed SBX1-2 -- by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) --Â in a 27-9 vote (Lin, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 4/29).
Details of Bills
The bills would:
- Ban pre-existing conditions as a means of denial for health coverage;
- Establish community rating measures; and
- Require guaranteed issuing and renewal of health insurance in the individual and small group market (Gorn, "Capitol Desk," California Healthline, 4/26).
The bills also would allow the state health insurance exchange to establish 19 geographic regions for setting health insurance rates (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 4/29).
The two bills are almost identical, but have slight differences: ABX1-2 includes language clarifying the insurance code, while SBX1-2 has additional health and safety language ("Capitol Desk," California Healthline, 4/26).
Comments on Bills
In a statement, Hernandez said, "California is leading the way in realizing the promise of President Obama's landmark health care law, and [SBX1-2] is the heart of those reforms."
He said that people with pre-existing conditions "will now be able to purchase health care coverage at the same rate as their neighbors of similar age and family size" (Hernandez release, 4/29).
However, Sen. Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) said he is concerned that the billsÂ would increase premiums for many individuals who purchase their own health insurance.
Brown's office did not comment on the passage of the bills (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 4/29).
Broadcast CoverageOn Monday, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reported on the two bills (Bartolone, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 4/29). 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.