Approaching deadline weeks in the legislature…

HEALTH ACCESS UPDATE:
Tuesday, April 23, 2013

BUSY LEGISLATIVE CALENDAR IN NEXT TWO WEEKS,
WITH BILLS ON ACA REFORMS & REVENUE EFFORTS TO IMPROVE MEDI-CAL

* Bills to Adopt ACA Individual Insurance Market Reforms Up For Thursday Vote
* Key Bills (AB880, SB768) Would Raise Revenues to Improve Medi-Cal
* Legislative Calendar Includes Other Key Health Consumer Measures

* Health Access Bill List: Legislation Moving Forward to Benefits Health Consumers
* New Job Openings with Health Access: Help Fulfill the Promise of the ACA in CA!

  
The California Legislature is in full swing, with key bills to improve the
health care system up for key votes in the next few weeks.

INDIVIDUAL MARKET REFORM: The special session to implement the Affordable Care
Act continues, with key final floor votes on imporatnt individual insurance
market reforms scheduled for Thursday. ABX1 2 (Pan) and SBX1 2 (Hernandez) would
implement Affordable Care Act provisions such as preventing insurers from
denying or discriminating for pre-existing conditions, limiting different
premiums based on age to 3:1, and otherwise conforming and phasing-in new
insurance market rules for individuals who purchase insurance on their own.

BILL LIST: In regular session, key health bills are up for first committee
votes. Health, consumer, and community advocates, including Health Access
California, are supporting a number of bills in the regular legislative
session that are related to the implementation of ACA as well as improving
health care for consumers generally. The complete Health Access bill list is
available on our website. Additionally, we continue to provide regular
legislative updates on our blog: http://blog.health-access.org.

The next two weeks will be busy ones as the legislature works to pass bills out
of their first policy committees before the deadline.

KEY BILLS TO RAISE REVENUES TO IMPROVE MEDI-CAL: Of particular note are two
bills that would raise revenues with the intent to improve health programs,
particularly Medi-Cal: AB880 (Gomez) and SB768 (de Leon).

* EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITY: AB880 (Gomez) improves upon the employer
responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Under the ACA, larger
employers help pay for the subsidies of any of their workers that end up going
to the Exchange for health coverage–but there isn’t a similar contribution
required if those workers qualify for Medicaid. AB880 requires large employers
(who employ more than 500 workers) that have employees enrolled in Medi-Cal to
reimburse the state for the cost of their healthcare. Any revenues collected
from this fee will go directly to strengthen Medi-Cal and the safety net.

* TOBACCO TAX: SB768 (de Leon) would increase the tax on cigarettes, which would
have the health benefit of discouraging smoking. The revenue from the $2 per
pack tax will support tobacco cessation programs and go toward strengthening the
health care programs that treat tobacco-related illnesses. The revenue can take
advantage of the new opportunities for federal matching funds under the
Affordable Care Act to improve the state’s health system.

LEGISLATIVE CALENDAR
Below is a calendar of upcoming hearings:

Tuesday April 23, 2013
Assembly Health Committee
1:30pm – Room 4202
AB505 (Nazarian) Medi-Cal Managed Care Interpretation Services
AB617 (Nazarian) Exchange Appeals Process

Wednesday April 24, 2013
Senate Health Committee
1:30pm – Room 4203
SB28 (Hernandez) Exchange, enrolling people from PCIP and MRMIP.
SB746 (Leno) Rate Review in the large group market.

Thursday April 25, 2013
Senate Floor Session (begins 9am)
*ABX1 2 (Pan) Individual Market Reforms
Assembly Floor Session (begins 9am)
*SBX 1 2 (Hernandez) Individual Market Reforms

Tuesday April 30, 2013
Assembly Health Committee
1:30pm – Room 4202
(Letters due noon April 23, 2013)
AB50 (Pan) Medi-Cal Eligibility and Enrollment outstanding ACA changes.
AB880 (Gomez) Employer Responsibility

May 1, 2013
Senate Health Committee
1:30 – Room 4203
(Letters due noon April 24, 2013)
SB161 (Hernandez) Stop Loss Coverage
SB189 (Monning) Wellness incentives
*SB768 (de Leon) Cigarette Tax

*Tentative date

As the Legislature moves to key committee deadlines, the work on bills will move
quickly and purposefully. Sample letters on all these measures are available
from the author of this report, Linda Leu, at lleu@health-access.org.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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