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Health Bills Advance in the Legislature

April was a busy month for the Senate Health Committee and Assembly Health Committee. Both took action on myriad bills related to health policy and ACA implementation. Here’s a brief rundown…

  • SB 703 (Hernandez) would create the ACA’s Basic Health Plan as an alternative for individuals between 133% and 200% as an alternative to participating in the Exchange. Under the bill, the Basic Health Plan would be run by MRMIB. Passed out of Health Committee and now moves onto Appropriations Committee.
  • SB 408 (Hernandez) would close a legal loophole and require new owners of hospitals and other health care facilities to apply for licensure upon the change of ownership. Passed out of Health Committee and onto Approps.
  • AB 154 (Beall) would help implement the ACA by requiring health plans cover mental health and substance abuse treatment. Passed out of Health Committee and onto Approps.
  • AB 922 (Monning) would create a California Office of Health Consumer Assistance as a hub for providing information, referrals, and address grievances for 35 million California health care consumers. Passed out of Health Committee.
  • AB 185 (Hernandez) would require health plans in the individual market to cover maternity care. Passed out of Health Committee and onto Approps.
  • AB 52 (Feuer) – would give regulators the explicit ability to approve or deny health insurers’ rate increases. Supported by consumer, community, labor, and other organizations. Passed out of Health Committee.
  • AB 43 (Monning) – would allow for ACA’s expansion of Medi-Cal, starting January 1, 2014 and allow the state to begin taking full advantage of federal dollars, which cover 100% of costs for newly eligible Medi-Cal enrollees. Passed out of Health Committee.
  • SB 677 (Hernandez) – would implement simplified Medi-Cal eligibility rules starting Jan. 1, 2014, eliminating the assets test and using instead the MAGI test currently used for tax purposes. Passed out of Senate Health Committee.
  • AB 714 (Atkins) – would provide notice to nearly 3 million Californians currently enrolled in one of the state’s existing health programs (e.g. FamilyPACT, AIM, etc.) that they may be eligible for the Exchange on and after Jan. 1, 2014. It also provides for early enrollment starting in 2013. Passed Assembly Health Committee.
  • AB 792 (Bonilla) – would provide for seamless transitions between coverage in life situations that have traditionally resulted in temporary, if not extended, uninsurance, require other state agencies to provide this information when individuals file for divorce, unemployment, adoption, and other life changes. Passed out of Assembly Health Committee.
  • SB 155 (Evans) – would require maternity care in health plans, something that will be required in health plans under the federal law in 2014. Passed out of Senate Health Committee.
  • SB 51 (Alquist) – would put into California law the ACA’s Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) requirements. Passed out of the Senate Health Committee.
  • SB 222 (Alquist) – would allow local health plan initiatives and county organized health systems to form joint ventures. Passed out of Senate Health Committee.

Thank you to Health Access California and the Western Center on Law & Poverty for their important work tracking and summarizing California health care legislation.

More information on the status and the legislative language of each bill is available at LegInfo.