State Lawmakers Should Not Mandate Health Coverage ‘One Treatment at a Time,’ Los Angeles Times Says
State lawmakers often "play a vital role in ensuring that patients get essential care," but they should not pass the "raft" of bills introduced in the Legislature this year that would "regulate one treatment at a time," according to a Los Angeles Times editorial. Lawmakers have proposed 18 bills that would require health plans to cover a number of treatments and services. However, the Times points out that none of the bills "have been subjected to any serious scrutiny of costs," despite the state's estimated $8 billion to $12 billion deficit. Although none of the bills "directly burden the state," the editorial warns that they could "drive up the already soaring premiums" for CalPERS. In addition, the bills could prompt private health insurers to increase premiums for employers, who could decide to drop health coverage for employees as a result, which would "throw more people" into public health programs and emergency rooms. According to the Times, the bills "need sorting out before they come to another vote." The Times advocates a proposal from Assembly Health Committee Chair Helen Thomson (D-Davis) that would "put the bills on hold" and establish a health cost commission to conduct cost-benefit analyses on proposed health coverage mandates. The editorial concludes, "Most of the bills now pending in Sacramento cross a line, going beyond legitimate oversight and into political micromanagement. That's a bad prescription for any state" (Los Angeles Times, 4/19).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.