Sacramento Bee Examines Health Care Bills Under Consideration in Legislature
The Sacramento Bee today examines the "flurry of bills to make health care more affordable" that the Legislature may consider after the August recess. Several bills that "stand a chance of reaching the governor's desk" focus on the uninsured, hospital care and continuity of care, according to the Bee. Summaries of some of the bills appear below.
- The uninsured: A bill (SB 2) introduced by Senate President Pro Tempore John Burton (D-San Francisco) and passed by the Senate would require state employers to provide health insurance for employees or pay into a state fund to provide coverage for state residents without employer-sponsored coverage. A second bill (SB 921), sponsored by Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), would establish a state-administered health insurance program for all residents similar to the Medicare program. A third bill (AB 232), sponsored by Assembly Member Wilma Chan (D-Alameda), would require hospitals to notify patients of free care options and limit the amount that hospitals can charge low-income patients without health insurance.
- Hospital care: Two bills (AB 253 and SB 1005) would establish fines as high as $5,000 per day for hospitals that do not meet state nurse-to-patient ratio requirements. Three bills (AB 1627, 1628, and 1629) introduced by Assembly Health Committee Chair Dario Frommer (D-Los Angeles) would address financial reporting and patient billing practices at hospitals.
- Continuity of care: Two bills (AB 1286 and SB 244) would establish an amount of time that a patient could continue to seek care from a physician in the event that the HMO of the patient and the physician terminate their contract.