Schwarzenegger Could Soon Act on Health-Related Legislation
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) actions on hundreds of bills that will come before him over the next three weeks as the legislative session concludes could "define his policy positions" on some issues, including health care, "as never before," the Contra Costa Times reports. According to the Times, the governor publicly does not take official positions on bills until they reach his desk, but his aides sometimes privately meet with lawmakers to discuss possible amendments to legislation. Health-related legislation that Schwarzenegger could act upon includes:
- Several bills that would ease rules on reimporting lower-cost, U.S.-made prescription drugs from countries such as Canada, legislation that "drug companies and business interests oppose," the Times reports (LaMar, Contra Costa Times, 8/12).
- A bill (SB 1336) that would allow oral and maxillofacial surgeons to perform common elective surgeries that are generally performed by plastic surgeons. The legislation would require oral surgeons to pay a $150 fee and gain board certification to perform procedures on the neck and face, such as eye lifts and Botox injections, at patients' requests, instead of only when medically necessary (California Healthline, 5/27).
- A bill (SB 1555) that would ban health insurance plans that exclude maternity benefits. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo), comes in response to individual policies introduced last year by Blue Cross of California and Health Net that offer lower-cost health coverage without maternity benefits. Supporters of the bill include Kaiser Permanente, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and some reproductive health advocates (California Healthline, 5/10).
Consumer advocates have said Schwarzenegger's decisions could be influenced by $12 million in campaign contributions, "many from businesses with legislative agendas," including Blue Cross and Health Net, the Times reports. The legislative session ends Aug. 31, after which the governor has 30 days to sign or veto bills that the Legislature passes (Contra Costa Times, 8/12). 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.