State Senate Approves Bill to Require Health Plans to Cover Drug, Alcohol Treatment
Under a bill (SB 599) approved yesterday by the state Senate, the state's health plans would be required to cover drug and alcohol abuse treatment, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata), passed by a 23-14 vote, despite a complaint by state Sen. Ray Haynes (R-Temecula) that the legislation would increase health care costs and prompt fewer employers to pay for employees' health coverage. Haynes said, "If our goal is make sure that the only health care anybody gets is a government health care program, we are well on the road to accomplishing that." But state Sen. Jackie Speier (D-Dale City) said that the bill would cost less than $1 per health care plan member per month. She said, "If we're ever going to get someone off drugs or alcohol, it is because of the intercession by a health care professional. It's worth the expenditure." The bill now moves to the state Assembly (AP/Contra Costa Times, 6/4).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.