September 1, 2017 Edition
CHEAC Office Closed on Monday, September 4
CHEAC will be closed on Monday, September 4 in observance of the Labor Day. We will resume normal operations on Tuesday, September 5. Have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend!
Upcoming Deadlines Approaching
As a reminder, CHEAC Annual Meeting hotel reservations must be made by Friday, September 8. Annual Meeting registration is still open through Friday, September 15. More information on how to register and secure hotel reservations can be found here. Please join us in Anaheim!
Also, please note that the deadline to make changes to your local health department page in our 2018 Health Directory is Friday, October 6. If you need another copy of your directory page, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the legislative session quickly winding down, the Senate and Assembly had a busy week of finalizing committee activities and preparing for upcoming floor sessions. Today is the deadline for fiscal committees to meet and report all fiscal bills, and the last two weeks of the session will be floor session only.
Notably, this week, Governor Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders reached a housing deal which includes a $4 billion bond, a new fee on real estate transactions, and a handful of measures to streamline housing development projects. The deal is expected to lead to development of approximately 70,000 housing units and partly relieve the urgent housing crisis in California. A vote on the package of housing bills is expected next week.
Our full CHEAC Bill Chart is available here. Below, we highlight a handful of bills of interest to members, as well as Suspense File bills heard today.
AB 1250 (Jones-Sawyer) as amended on 6/21/2017 – Oppose
AB 1250, as introduced by Assembly Member Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Sr., was heard on the Senate Appropriations Committee Suspense File today where it was passed to the Senate Rules Committee. Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee expressed concerns about the potential impact to county services, but also indicated their desire to ensure contracting at the local level is done so in a way that is transparent and cost-effective.
Recall, AB 1250 would place onerous requirements on county contracting, including many of the contracts into which local health departments enter for vital health services. Further amendments are expected, but time is limited given that only two weeks remain in the legislative session. CHEAC continues to oppose the measure and remains part of a large opposition coalition led by the California State Association of Counties (CSAC). We will update members as additional information becomes available.
AB 1603 (Ridley-Thomas) as amended on 8/24/2017 – Oppose
AB 1603 by Assembly Member Sebastian Ridley-Thomas was sent directly to the Senate Floor this week under Senate Rule 28.8, which permits the Senate to bypass the fiscal committee if the bill does not appropriate money and has no significant fiscal impact.
The measure revises the definition of “public employee” and would authorize collective bargaining for temporary employees without consent by the public employer or temporary agency. The scope of the bill was recently narrowed to focus on those jointly employed by a public agency and another employer to work at a clinic or hospital operated to provide medical education, a non-profit or community clinic, and a county hospital. CHEAC, along with CSAC, the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (CAPH), the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California (CBHDA), and the Urban Counties of California (UCC), oppose this measure.
AB 210 (Santiago) as amended on 8/23/2017 – Support
AB 210 by Assembly Member Miguel Santiago was sent directly to the Senate Floor this week under Senate Rule 28.8. The measure would allow counties to establish adult and family multidisciplinary teams to facilitate the expedited identification, assessment, and linkage of homeless individuals to housing and supportive services. The measure is sponsored by Los Angeles County, and CHEAC supports this bill as a way to improve coordination of services and strengthen continuity of care for the homeless population.
Suspense File Bills
CHEAC had an eye on over 50 Suspense File bills this week. The following items are Suspense File bills on which CHEAC has taken a position. For all other Suspense File bills, please reference this week’s full bill chart.
AB 40 (Santiago) – Support – Drug & Alcohol Services – Do Pass as Amended to Senate Floor
AB 74 (Chiu) – Special Interest Bill – Health Equity – Do Pass as Amended to Senate Floor
AB 263 (Rodriguez) – Watch with Concerns – EMS – Do Pass to Senate Rules Committee
AB 340 (Arambula) – Support – Health Care Coverage – Do Pass as Amended to Senate Floor
AB 391 (Chiu) – Support – Health Care Coverage – Do Pass to Senate Floor
AB 725 (Levine) – Support – Tobacco – Do Pass as Amended to Senate Floor
AB 1250 (Jones-Sawyer) – Oppose – LHD Administration – Do Pass as Amended to Senate Rules Committee
AB 1591 (Berman) – Support – Health Care Access – Do Pass as Amended to Senate Floor
SB 138 (McGuire) – Support – Chronic Disease – Do Pass to Assembly Floor
SB 323 (Mitchell) – Support – Health Care Coverage – Do Pass as Amended to Assembly Floor
SB 386 (Glazer) – Support – Tobacco – Do Pass to Assembly Floor
Held on Suspense
AB 64 (Bonta) – Special Interest Bill – Cannabis – Held on Suspense
AB 175 (Chau) – Support – Cannabis – Held on Suspense
AB 823 (Chau) – Support – Cannabis – Held on Suspense
SB 162 (Allen) – Support – Cannabis – Held on Suspense
Harris to Co-Sponsor “Medicare for All” Bill
During a town hall event this week in Oakland, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris announced her intention to co-sponsor the single-payer “Medicare for All” bill that U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders will introduce in September. Stating that “it’s just the right thing to do,” Harris departed from the position of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein who has expressed concerns over the costs and details of such single-payer measure. Sanders is expected to release the text of his “Medicare for All” bill in the coming weeks.
Bipartisan Governors Offer Solution to Strengthen Health Insurance Markets
Republican Governor John Kasich of Ohio and Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado released a plan this week to stabilize the individual health insurance marketplace and make health insurance more affordable. In a letter addressed to congressional leaders, the governors focus on federal action to stabilize markets, preserve coverage gains and control costs, and continue a robust federal-state partnership. Some of their specific recommendations include:
- Funding cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) to insurance providers through at least 2019;
- Keeping the individual insurance coverage mandate in the immediate future;
- Creating tax exemptions for insurance providers offering plans in underserved counties; and
- Supporting and streamlining state innovation waivers, including increased flexibility in choosing essential health benefit (EHB) coverage
The plan is a result of months of work between the two governors and their push for a bipartisan solution to nation’s health insurance system. Governors from Alaska, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Virginia also signed onto the plan which is available here.
Upon Congress’ return to Washington next week, a series of bipartisan Senate hearings on how to stabilize and strengthen the individual health insurance marketplace will be held. Hickenlooper and a handful of other governors are expected to testify at one of the hearings.
With several priority deadlines facing Congress this fall, such as the debt ceiling, government funding, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding, it remains to be seen what action, if any, related to health insurance will be taken.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report this week of health insurance coverage estimates from the first quarter of the 2017 National Health Interview Survey. The results have indicated that 8.8 percent of the population—28.1 million Americans of all ages—were uninsured between January and March 2017. Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the uninsured population was 48.6 million. The figures released this week show a 20.5 million decrease in the uninsured population since 2010 and a 0.5 million decrease since 2016.
Of those individuals uninsured for the first quarter of the year, approximately five percent were children age 17 and younger. The CDC also found that adults aged 25-34 were nearly twice as likely as adults aged 45-64 to lack health insurance coverage. For all age groups studied, the percentage of individuals who were uninsured decreased significantly between 2013 and the first quarter of 2017. The full CDC report is available here.
The Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, recently released a report entitled, 10 Policies to Prevent and Respond to Childhood Lead Exposure: An Assessment of the Risks Communities Face and Key Federal, State, and Local Solutions. The report explores and assesses implications of childhood lead exposure and provides a cost-benefit analysis of various policies to prevent and respond to such lead exposure issues. With a focus on public health and health equity, the report details a series of potential solutions to addressing childhood lead exposure, including reducing lead in drinking water, food, and consumer products, cleaning up contaminated soil, improving blood lead testing among children, and improving public access to local data. The full report, as well as more information, is available here.
This week, the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released its 14th annual report on The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America. The report found that U.S. adult obesity rates increased in four states, decreased in one state, and remained stable in the rest between 2015 and 2016. Childhood obesity rates in the nation have stabilized, while rates among low income preschoolers between 2011 and 2014 have declined. California was found to have the 47th lowest adult obesity rates out of all U.S. states and the District of Columbia, but the highest rates of obese low income 2-4 year olds. The report reveals significant racial and ethnic disparities in adult and childhood obesity rates remain. A State of Obesity Partner Toolkit with new data, community-based policies, and communications resources is also available here.