CalPERS this week took steps to help its members fund future retiree health care liabilities in the face of new accounting rules that require state and local governments to disclose those costs. The CalPERS Board of Administration approved language for regulations that permit CalPERS to draw up plans for a new investment fund to help members avoid future shortfalls that could lead to funding cuts for other budget items in years to come. The CalPERS members-only fund came about after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) vetoed legislation CalPERS sought that would have opened the investment fund to public entities that are not CalPERS members. A report by the California HealthCare Foundation estimates that retiree health care costs for public sector employers in California will increase from $3.9 billion in 2006 to $31 billion by 2020.
Another CHCF report this week drew criticism from supporters of vetoed legislation that would have created a state-run, single-payer health care system in California. The report detailed individual health insurance mandates and an employer coverage pool as options to expand health insurance coverage, strategies that some health care advocates said were not the most effective ways to expand health insurance coverage. Health care advocates who supported Sen. Sheila Kuehl's (D-Los Angeles) SB 840 -- the California single-payer bill -- say the bill likely will be reintroduced in the 2007 legislative session.
This week's Legislative Update highlights action by the governor on bills addressing:
- Workers' compensation claimants' choice of physician;
- Research on the state emergency and trauma care systems; and
- Posting information about physicians on a state Web site.