If you aren’t following our Twitter feed @healthaccess, you are missing out on real-time updates on key health bills from the floors of the California Senate and Assembly. Some hashtags to follow are #HCR #CABudget #CALeg.
Some of today’s highlights on concurrence votes, as we enter the final day of this year’s legislative session:
* The State Assembly passed ABx1 21, the MCO tax to fund Healthy Families coverage for over 300,000 kids, by a bipartisan 58-9 vote. Heads to the Governor
* The State Senate passed SB222(Evans/Alquist) requiring maternity as a basic benefit in health plans, with a 25-11 vote. Now to the Governor with AB210(R. Hernandez).
* The State Assembly passed AB1296(Bonilla), a “no wrong door” eligibility and enrollment bill to get ready for implementing health reform, passed CA Assembly 46-10. Onto the Governor.
* AB922(Monning), sponsored by Health Access and Western Center on Law and Poverty, to improve consumer assistance, passed CA Assembly 45-20. Heads to Governor.
AB922 had some floor debate, after the author, Assemblyman Bill Monning, chair of the Assembly Health Committee, explained the bill and the amendments made in the Senate. GOP Assemblymembers Silva, Garrick, Wagner, and Haldeman argued against AB922, generally using it as a proxy to attack “Obamacare” and what they perceived to be an “expansion of government.” Assemblymember Pan and Bonilla actually made the point it would streamline government, by having an easy front line for health consumers to register questions and complaints, whereas there are now over 8 places that Californias might call now. Pan also made the case that this improvement of consumer assistance would be a good policy, even if health reform wasn’t looming. But since it is “the law of the land,” there would are both federal requirements and federal funds available to undertake these reforms. The bill passed with 45 votes.