Isn’t that special? This legislative session, and next…

On Thursday, Governor Brown called for a special session of the legislature in December on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

HHS Secretary Diana Dooley puts the letter in the context “of the progress California has made and will continue to make as a leader in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.” She continued, “By stating our intention to call a concurrent special session after the legislature reconvenes, we want to give assurance that we will work cooperatively with our legislative and stakeholder colleagues to address whatever issues may need statutory changes or support in a time frame that will not impede our progress toward our January, 2014 target.”

More coverage is by Wyatt Buchanan of the San Francisco Chronicle, Anthony York of the Los Angeles Times, Judy Lin of the Associated Press, and David Siders of the Sacramento Bee.

More immediately, there are many pending bills that made it through Appropriations that are now pending in the next two weeks of legislative session. Here’s a one-page bill list on the Health Access website:
http://www.health-access.org/files/advocating/2012%20HAC%20Implementation%20Bill%20List%208-16-12.pdf

With the urgency to be ready by late 2013, we hope we can put in place as many of these consumer protections and other bills as possible in the current session, working with the Legislature and Governor in the next few weeks. These bills need to pass the Legislature by the end of August, and the Governor will have the month of September to sign or veto them.

But to the extent that there will be more work to do, we hope we move quickly in December, to make sure we are ready to start , to make sure we maxmize the benefit for Californians and our health system.

Here’s the Governor’s letter, in full:


Dear President pro Tempore Steinberg and Speaker Perez,

Since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, Califomia has made extraordinary progress implementing many of its provisions, including establishing the Health Benefit Exchange. Several benefits of the Affordable Care Act have already gone into effect, but its most significant provisions, reducing the number of uninsured, encouraging health and wellness, changes to the private health insurance market, and reforming the health care delivery system to lower costs and improve quality, will not begin until 2014.

For almost two years now, we have worked with the legislature and all interested stakeholders to prepare for these changes, many of which require revisions to current law. We will work with you to complete what we can in the current session, but many important issues and questions cannot be addressed or answered without further guidance from the federal government and additional analysis to understand the interrelationship of the decisions we must make.

Therefore, I plan to call a special session at the beginning of the next legislative session to continue this important work of implementing the Affordable Care Act. We look forward to continuing our work with you, your members and other stakeholders so that California can best position itself to responsibly and effectively implement the federal law’s requirements.

Sincerely,

Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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