SENATE: Approves Bills to Aid Immigrants, Medicare Beneficiaries
The state's senior citizens and disabled are expected to save between 20% and 40% under a bill approved 28-6 in the state Senate Thursday. State Sen. Jackie Speier's (D-Daly City) measure, SB 393, would require pharmacies to charge Medicare beneficiaries the same discounted prices paid by beneficiaries in the Medi-Cal program. It would affect 1.3 million Californians. "As prescription drug prices rise, cases increase where patients alter their drug therapies to conserve medicine and their money, and that type of adjustment can be life-threatening," said Speier, noting, "This bill will help some home health care budgets without the use of additional tax dollars." The bill has been sent to the Assembly (AP/Capitol Alert, 6/11).
Illegal immigrants would be eligible for Medi-Cal prenatal care under a measure the Senate approved 23-8 Thursday. The author of SB 82, state Sen. John Vasconcellos (D-Santa Clara), said it would save the state $6 for every $1 it spent "by avoiding health problems in children who become U.S. citizens at birth." Prior to 1996 welfare reforms, the government funded prenatal care for low-income, illegal immigrants. Gov. Gray Davis (D) has allocated $63.8 million to the program. The Assembly will now consider the bill (AP/Capitol Alert, 6/11).