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Friday, May 8, 2015

Apropriations Committee Hearings

Medi-Cal Reimbursement.
Also next Monday, SB 243 (Hernandez) is expected to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  This bill, among other things, would repeal implementation of prior years’ Medi-Cal rate reductions.  Because of its costs to the state, this bill is a likely candidate for the Suspense File.   The Alliance supports SB 243.

Physician Assisted Suicide.  Next Monday, May 11, SB 128 (Wolk-Monning), will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  The Alliance continues to work with its coalition partners to target key Senators, urging them not to support this bill.  We also understand that the California Medical Association has offered several amendments that the

authors

are considering; however, the proposed language changes have not been made public.  We expect that SB 128 likely will go to the Appropriations Committee Suspense File to allow time for negotiations on any amendments.

Medi-Cal Reimbursement. Also next Monday, SB 243 (Hernandez) is expected to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  This bill, among other things, would repeal implementation of prior years’ Medi-Cal rate reductions.  Because of its costs to the state, this bill is a likely candidate for the Suspense File.   The Alliance supports SB 243.


Friday, May 8, 2015

Governor's May Revision

The Governor is expected to present his May Revision of the State Budget by next Thursday, May 14. As reported earlier, the state’s projected revenue surplus is expected to increase between $6 and $8 million, up from the original projection of about $2 million. The state’s public schools will receive the majority of that increase as mandated under Proposition 98. Another portion of the revenues also must be saved for the Rainy Day Budget Stabilization Fund (Proposition 2) that was approved by California voters last November.  The Legislature likely will also have additional money to consider that will set off a battle among health, poverty and other interest groups about how to spend the extra revenues.


Friday, May 8, 2015

LAO: Better Oversight of Medi-Cal Managed Care

The non-partisan Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) released, this week, a new report on the ever-expanding Medi-Cal managed care (MCMC) program.  Over the last ten years, the use of managed care in Medi-Cal has expanded rapidly, now comprising approximately 70% of the program (about 8 million of the 12 million people in Medi-Cal). 

The LAO report details that, judging by HEDIS and CAHPS scores, all of the Medi-Cal managed care plans show room for quality improvement.  In addition, those scores have remained largely unchanged for the last ten years.  Medi-Cal has implemented various quality improvement and pay-for-performance (P4P) programs to try and improve quality, but they are not showing any real effects. 
The LAO recommends that the Department of Health Care Services should better align their various quality and P4P programs and coordinate them with similar federal programs.  A link to the LAO report can be found at: http://www.lao.ca.gov/Publications/Detail/3243


Friday, May 8, 2015

2016 Ballot Update: Tobacco Tax Initiatives

This week, health advocates submitted title and summary for two versions of a proposal to raise the state tobacco tax by $2.00 per pack.  The difference between the two versions is that one would include e-cigarettes in the tax, while the other will not. The two measures were submitted to the Attorney General by the "Save Lives California Coalition," the same group sponsoring the legislative vehicle for a tobacco tax, SB 591 (Pan), in the Legislature (that has an uphill fight and needs a 2/3 vote to pass).  The coalition is comprised of the Heart, Lung, and Cancer associations, along with the California Medical Association, California Dental Association, SEIU and Health Access.

Summaries of the many proposed ballot initiatives, including the tobacco tax, can be found at: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/attorney-general-information.


Friday, May 1, 2015

Legislative Hearings and Deadlines

Today (May 1) is the legislative deadline for fiscal bills to move out of their house of origin policy committees, which means that we now settle in for a month of longhearings in the respective Appropriations Committees and build up to budget negotiations.  A few highlights from this week include:

The hospital community was able to stop SB 346 (Wieckowski), the CNA-sponsored bill that would have created very onerous requirements on hospital charity careand community benefits.  The bill failed passage on Wednesday in the Senate Health Committee on a vote of 4-2 – Republican Senators Nguyen and Nielsen voting “no”and Democratic Senators Pan, Roth and Wolk “not voting.”  SB 346 was granted reconsideration and now becomes a two-year bill (but cannot be heard again until nextJanuary, without a rule waiver).

The Alliance-supported POLST Registry bill, SB 19 (Wolk), passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, on a vote of 6-0, with one member not voting.  This bill would require the California Health and Human Services Agency to establish and operate a statewide registry system for the purpose of collecting POLST(Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) forms. This bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

California's assisted suicide bill, SB 128 (Wolk-Monning), has been scheduled for hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, May 11th.  The Appropriations Committee hearing will focus on the fiscal impacts of the bill.  The Alliance continues to work with its coalition partners to target key Senators, urging themnot to support this bill, should it be heard on the Senate floor sometime before the June 5th legislative deadline for bills to be passed out of their house of origin.

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