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These 5 bills before California lawmakers seek to expand health coverage, lower costs

February 13, 2018

By Michelle Faust: KPCC – excerpt (includes audio, but doesn’t work for me. I can listen to the live shows on iTunes.)

This week, advocates of moving California to a single-payer health care system renewed their push in Sacramento. On Wednesday, hundreds of them crowded into a hearing of a special State Assembly committee that’s exploring whether and how to bring universal health care to the state…(more)

5 bills in the legislature:

  • SB 910–Introduced by Senate Health Committee Chair Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), the bill would prohibit the sale of short-term health insurance policies starting in 2019. The Trump administration lifted restrictions on such plans last year; they don’t have to cover the 10 essential benefits required by the Affordable Care Act. SB 910’s supporters call these short-term plans “junk insurance.”
  • SB 974–This bill, introduced by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bells Gardens), would allow low-income adults who are in the U.S. illegally to sign up for Medi-Cal. Experts estimate that nearly 2 million of the 3 million uninsured Californians are in the country without legal documentation. State law already offers Medi-Cal to individuals under the age of 19 who are here illegally.
  • SB 538–Sen. Bill Monning (D-Santa Cruz) authored this bill, which would prohibit anti-competitive contracts between hospitals and insurers. Monning believes the legislation would create more price competition among health care providers.
  • AB 587–This measure would expand the state’s bulk prescription drug purchasing program by allowing counties and local governments to join. The idea is that the larger group would have more purchasing power, which could push drug costs lower. Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) authored this bill.
  • AB 595–Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) authored this bill that gives the state oversight of potential mergers between health insurance plans. California could veto the marriage of insurance carriers to avoid insurance monopolies in the state…(more)

It looks like something might be done if legislators can agree on financing. I’m wondering if the state can do something to cut costs of pharmaceuticals by eliminating marketing of prescription drugs to the public.

 

 

 

 

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