Floor Session Update, AB52 & More Key Health Bills Move Forward

In late evening floor action last night, the Senate passed SB728, Senator Hernandez’s bill on risk adjustment. More action today resulted in the passage of all but one of our bills, AB1334 (Feuer), which will be considered tomorrow.

Senate Floor
SB703 (Hernandez) Creates a Basic Health Plan to serve low-income Californians

Assembly Floor
AB1296 (Bonilla) Streamlining eligibility, enrollment, and retention in public programs, including the development of one statewide application.
AB 916 (Perez) Requires the State to seek funding opportunities through the Affordable Care Act and other sources for promotores.
AB922 (Monning) Improving consumer protection by improving the Office of the Patient Advocate.
AB52 (Feuer) Giving regulators rate approval authority to protect health insurance consumers.

Mr. Monning’s bill sparked some “debate” as the proposal to better assist health care consumers inspired some Republicans to rehash a number of myths about the treachery of “Obamacare.”

Mr. Feuer’s bill was heard amidst a Republican “walk out” around the issue of whether they could hold a GOP caucus, so the opposition in the discussion came from Democratic members. Mr. Calderon and Mr. Solorio spoke out in strong opposition, this time largely citing concerns about rate regulation’s interaction with the new Exchange as the reason for their opposition as well as giving mention to concerns over the politicizing of health insurance rates. Assemblymember Monning reminded his colleagues that the authority the bill gave regulators was approval authority based on actuarial data and other facts, not arbitrary authority. Assemblymember Huffman, one of the bill’s co-authors spoke in support saying that this bill is fundamentally about “where do you stand? who are you with?” encouraging other members to stand with their constituents, and the hundreds of thousands of health care consumers suffering from insurance industry abuses. In the end, neither Calderon or Solorio voted for or against the bill, choosing instead to join Democratic Assembly members Buchanan, Galgiani, Huber, and Perea in abstaining. Assemblymember Hall was not present at the time of the vote. Assemblymember Pan was the only Democratic “no” vote, joined later by most Republican Assemblymembers. AB52 now heads to the Senate.

Many, many thanks to all of our friends and allies who have made calls, sent letters, and visited your Assemblymembers about these bills, we look forward to your support as we redouble our efforts in moving these bills through the second house. Onward!

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