Portions of Health Reform Plan Revived in Recent Legislation
More than 12 health care-related bills are advancing through the California Legislature, and some are resurrected portions of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) health care reform proposal that a Senate committee rejected in January, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Bills under consideration aim to curb health insurance industry practices, in part by:
- Requiring insurers to spend at least 85% of premium income on patient care;
- Permitting insurers to rescind coverage only after getting approval from state regulators;
- Mandating that insurers offer specific types of health plans as a condition of doing business in California; and
- Expanding coverage requirements to include maternity services and other procedures.
Daniel Zingale, a senior Schwarzenegger adviser, said that the governor supports the aim of many of the bills and that Schwarzenegger will offer other ideas on health care reform in the next few weeks.
In addition, some Republican lawmakers are lining up behind the proposals to pass the legislation with bipartisan support.
Some insurers that backed the governor's health reform plan are lobbying against the new bills, in part because many of the proposals transfer costs to the health care industry, the Times reports.
Tom Epstein, a spokesperson for Blue Shield of California, said his company initially agreed to support the governor's plan because it would have required all Californians to obtain insurance coverage. However, without comprehensive reform, Epstein said Blue Shield will oppose the proposed cap on insurer profit.
Nicole Evans, spokesperson for the California Association of Health Plans, said, "We think these bills are going to raise costs and, in the end, make the problem worse, not better" (Rau, Los Angeles Times, 6/3).