Three Health Care Bills on Agenda When Calif. Lawmakers Reconvene
When California lawmakers reconvene the first week of August, they will consider three health care bills that largely are supported by consumer advocates and opposed by insurers, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reports.
Details of Bills
One bill (SB 1176) set for consideration would require insurers to track and record out-of-pocket costs paid by their members and reimburse them if they go over a set limit.
Another bill (AB 1917) aims to make the cost of specialty medications more affordable for patients with chronic conditions (Bartolone, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 7/21). The measure also would require commercial insurers to cover hepatitis C screenings (Lauer, California Healthline, 5/19).
A third bill (AB 2533) slated for consideration this fall would require insurers to pay for out-of-network providers when an in-network provider is not immediately available to provide care.
Consumer Advocates, Insurers Split Over Bills
Anthony Wright of Health Access, said, "These bills are trying to improve the experience once folks are in coverage, that they have access to the care that they need when they need it, that they are protected against too many [out-of-pocket] costs."
However, California Association of Health Plans' Nicole Kasabian Evans said that some of the bills' requirements are impractical or expensive ("KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 7/21).
Opponents of the measure to make specialty medications more affordable say coverage mandates for expensive drugs could bankrupt the private insurer system (California Healthline, 5/19).
Meanwhile, insurers have said that the measure requiring them to pay for out-of-network care would hinder their ability to control costs. However, California Nurses Association President Deborah Burger said health plans are "pretending that they're giving enough choice and access, but in reality, when you look at what's available, there [are] significant delays in care, there's significant denial of care" (Goldberg, KPBS, 6/6).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.