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Whatever Happened to the Waiver Bills?

Two weeks ago, we reported that CMS granted the state’s request for a two-month extension of the current 1115 waiver, so that CMS and DHCS could have additional time to negotiate the final details of the five-year waiver renewal. From what we hear, conversations are going well, and barring any major bumps in the road, we will have a new waiver by the end of October.

That said, the state’s legislation deadline of Aug. 31st has come and gone, but the legislature did not act on AB 342 (Perez) and SB 208 (Steinberg), the identical bills that were to serve as the state’s implementing authority for the finalized waiver agreement. So, what happens to those bills?

Well, they are still alive and will likely be used for their original intended purpose. The legislature didn’t act on them last month because their contents are dependent on the on-going conversations between the state and CMS.

Yet, unlike most bills that didn’t make the deadline, AB 342 and SB 208 are not dead. Because the bills both contain an “urgency clause” — language that ensures the bills take affect immediately upon the governor’s signature (urgency clauses also trigger a two-thirds vote requirement) — they can be taken up at any time. Most folks in the Capitol are expecting the bills to come up for a vote when the legislature reconvenes to vote on the new state budget.

When will that be? Your guess is as good as mine…