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Health Care Special Session Slated for January

California’s legislative special session on health care won’t take place until January, according to officials at the California Health and Human Services agency.

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) told legislators in August he will convene a special session in the Legislature “to continue [the] important work of implementing the Affordable Care Act,” Brown wrote in a letter to California legislators. The session was expected to be convened in December.

The special session will be held concurrently with the regular legislative session that begins Jan. 7.

The November election was an important marker for the direction of ACA implementation, said Luis Vizcaino, HHS deputy secretary of communications. Now that Obama has been re-elected the state can better take advantage of federal health care reform opportunities, he said.

Earlier this year, the Legislature passed AB 1461, authored by Assembly member Bill Monning (D-Carmel), which would reform some aspects of the individual health insurance market. The governor vetoed that bill because he didn’t want the state left holding the financial bag if federal subsidies weren’t available to back the plan.

That may be one of the issues taken up in the special session, though Brown has not yet discussed a specific agenda.   

What state health officials do know, said Vizcaino, is that the special health care session won’t start until the beginning of 2013.

“It’s not going to be in December,” Vizcaino said. “It will run concurrently with the regular session.”

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