Budget, Special Session, Exchange Votes on Tap

November and December are supposed to be off-time for California lawmakers, but not this year.

This week, the Legislative Analyst’s Office is expected to release its budget forecast. Also this week, the Health Benefit Exchange board will vote on submission of its federal establishment grant. A number of health reform guidelines are expected to be released soon by federal health officials who are also dealing with a deadline this week for states to declare whether or not they will form their own exchanges.

California’s exchange board will meet Wednesday to vote on submission of its establishment grant. That will effectively lay out the exchange’s marketing, outreach and IT plans for its health insurance offerings,  now know as covered California. The exchange board also will take action on regulations for qualified health plans.

Legislators will need to show up at work a little early this session, which officially starts Dec. 3 with the swearing-in of new legislators. Usually, legislators take a month off after that ceremonial event, but this year, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has called for a special session in December to discuss health care.

Brown still needs to set a start date and agenda for the special session. He has said he intends to focus on bringing California in line with the Affordable Care Act, because several state provisions — in particular, coverage in the individual health insurance market — could not be finalized until after the presidential election.

The LAO has not yet said which day this week it will release the budget forecast. That projection of revenue will help state officials set fiscal parameters for the governor’s Jan. 10 deadline for a new budget.

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