Schwarzenegger Throws Support to Health Care Reform Proposals
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is backing a series of 15 health care reform proposals, many of which were ideas included in his reform proposal that was rejected earlier this year, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Some of the proposals are under consideration in the Legislature, while the governor still is working to recruit lawmakers to carry other proposals as legislation. As a result, the Union-Tribune reports that there are questions about whether Schwarzenegger can steer the proposals through the Legislature before it adjourns at the end of August.
AB 2146 by Assembly member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) is one of the proposals that the governor is backing. It would withhold Medi-Cal and Healthy Families payments for treatment of avoidable medical errors.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program, and Healthy Families is its version of the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
In addition, Schwarzenegger has expressed support for providing patients with more information about health care providers. AB 2967 by Assembly member Sally Lieber (D-Mountain View) would establish a committee to consider ways to provide more information to the public about the performance of doctors and hospitals.
Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) has introduced legislation that would ban "balance billing," a practice in which health care providers charge insured patients the amount of a claim that their health plans do not pay. The governor has advocated ending balance billing.
Other proposals that the governor is supporting would:
- Require health plans to spend at least 85% of premium income on medical expenses;
- Mandate that all health insurers offer plans that cover preventive care; and
- Make more information available about the costs, copayments and deductibles of health insurance plans.
None of the proposals includes funds to expand health insurance coverage (Ainsworth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/11).
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