Hopes for comprehensive healthcare reform in California in the near term crashed and burned in late 2007. Even a special legislative session failed to produce a comprehensive healthcare package.

But-to its credit-the legislature hasn’t given up. Recognizing that millions of Californians have no healthcare coverage (including many disabled workers who are no longer covered by group medical), Democrats in the legislature have sponsored a number of bills to ease access to coverage and prevent abuses by health insurers.

Injured workers have a dog in this hunt.

AB 1945 (DeLaTorre) would prevent insurers from retroactively canceling coverage unless they could show that intentional misrepresentations were made in the application for coverage. Over the past few years there have been occasional horrendous stories of insurers yanking coverage from seriously ill folks. This bill would force insurers to face a high standard of proof before rescinding coverage.

SB 1440 (Kuehl) would require health insurers to spend 85% of premium dollar collected on patient care. That’s a fine concept, and one the governor has supported as part of his 2007 healthcare proposal.

Other provisions would expand the list of required items to be covered.
AB 1877 (Beall) would require coverage for diagnosable mental illness.
AB 1962 (DeLaTorre) would require maternity care be covered. AB 1198
(Kuehl) would require durable medical equipment (wheelchairs, etc) be covered.

AB 2 (Dymally) would reform the high risk insurance pool, attempting to make insurance more available for high risk individuals.

You can read about these and other healthcare bills in an excellent article on the California Progress Report by Hanh Kim Quach of Healthcare Access California:
http://www.californiaprogressreport.com … al_25.html

It’s not clear what Governor Schwarzenegger will do with these bills.
Schwarzenegger’s governorship will be in its sunset phase before we know it, and with that goes his chance of leaving a legacy. Piecemeal reform was clearly not his first choice, but it may be his only option.
If he fails to sign these bills, he may find that he will achieve absolutely nothing in healthcare reform during his tenure.

Given the state’s budgetary distress, it’s hard to envision comprehensive healthcare being enacted in next year’s 2009 legislative session. One hopes the Goverrnor will think twice before rejecting these “piecemeal reforms”.

Stay tuned.

Julius Young
(you can subscribe to the blog by clicking on the RSS reader button on the right lower column under “Most recent entries”)

It was an interesting weekend. Those of us who hadn’t previously followed Alaska politics were introduced to Sarah Palin, who has registered the name “Rouge Cou” (translated as “redneck”) for a marketing venture.

Rust belt hockey moms, NASCAR dads and Catholic women may be deciding whose fairy tale comes true.

Turns out Palin is the part owner of an Anchorage car wash. Here in California the car wash industry has been the poster-boy for labor law violations. It’ll be interesting to see whether that’s the case in Alaska or whether Palin ran a “clean” car wash.

But while you were barbecuein’ and the media was reeling at the Palin pick, the California legislature was wrappin’.

We may not have a state budget yet. But we have comp legislation on its way to the Governor’s desk.

The bill in increase benefits to permanently disabled workers over a 3 year period-SB 1717- passed its last Assembly hurdle. The vote on August 29 was 46-31, with 3 absent or abstaining. The California Senate voted in favor 23-14 back on May 17. To see how the Assembly voted, click here:
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bil … floor.html

To see the official analysis of SB 1717, click here:
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bil … floor.html

SB 1717 is now on its way to the Governor, where it faces almost certain veto. Similar bills were rejected in 2006 and 2007. The third time is not likely to be the charm.

Also on its way to the governor is the Migden bill on apportionment discrimination, SB 1115. Here is the official analysis of SB 1115:
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bil … floor.html

SB 1115 passed out of the Assembly on 8/19, on a 46-31 vote, with 3 absent or abstaining. Here is the Assembly tally:
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bil … floor.html
And here is the Senate tally:
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bil … floor.html

I’ll be covering any developments as these bills head toward Schwarzenegger’s desk.

Stay tuned.

Julius Young
(you can subscribe to the blog by clicking on the RSS reader button on the lower right column under “Most recent entries”)

Not UR’d. The Governor, that is. The Governor found time to go have a quick knee arthroscopy while the legislature was in full food fight mode over the budget over the budget.Since the torn ligament was non-industrial, there was no need to wade through ACOEM review under UR. Turns out the Governor has had quite

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The WCIRB has just announced that it plans to recommend to Insurance Commissioner Poizner a 16% increase in workers’ comp rates effective 1/1/09. The actual “filing”(a recommendation with the Department of Insurance) will be coming in the next few days. The Insurance Commissioner can accept or reject the WCIRBrecommendation. The WCIRB recommendation applies to “purepremium

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Think back a few years. Many in the press and public believed that California workers’ comp was rife with worker fraud. The vision was fed by the occasional arrest shown on the 10 o’clock news. Or the story that doctor and attorney mills were feeding on each other, treating workers up the yin yang, ordering

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