Legislature in Full Swing as Bills Continue to Be Set for Hearings

The California Legislature is in full swing as indicated by this week’s significant number of amendments to bills, policy committee hearings, and budget activities. The next several weeks are expected to be very busy with additional bill hearings and amendments prior to the Legislature’s 10-day Spring Recess that begins on April 11.

This week’s CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart is available here. Below, we highlight several bills that were acted upon in committees of interest to CHEAC Members.

Access to Health Services

SB 66 (Atkins) as amended on March 21, 2019 – SUPPORT

Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins’ SB 66 was advanced on consent out of the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday. The measure authorizes Medi-Cal reimbursement for a maximum of two visits on the same day at a single federally qualified health center (FQHC) or rural health center (RHC) location if: 1) after the first visit, the patient suffers an illness or injury requiring additional diagnosis or treatment, or 2) the patient has a medical visit and a mental health or dental visit. The measure next heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Chronic Disease Prevention & Wellness Promotion

AB 388 (Limón) as introduced on February 5, 2019 – SUPPORT

AB 388 by Assembly Member Monique Limón was unanimously passed out of the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday. In her opening remarks, Assembly Member Limón indicated her personal interest in the measure after losing her grandmother this past week, who suffered from dementia. AB 388 would require the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to implement action agenda items from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Healthy Brain Initiative, conduct a statewide public awareness campaign around Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias, and conduct a pilot program to award one-time competitive grants to up to eight counties for local planning and preparation activities consistent with the CDC Healthy Brain Initiative Action Agenda. The measure now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Communicable Disease Control

AB 262 (Gloria) as introduced on January 24, 2019 – WATCH

Assembly Member Todd Gloria’s AB 262 was heard in the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday. AB 262 would require local health officers to promptly notify, update, and provide specified information to public entities within their jurisdiction about communicable disease outbreaks that may impact their jurisdictions and residents. Assembly Member Gloria cited the 2017 Hepatitis A outbreak that occurred in his district and the State Auditor report recommendations as the reason for the measure. Representatives on behalf of the San Diego Board of Supervisors and the City of San Diego testified in support of the measure and expressed the need to utilize lessons learned from the 2017 outbreak.

Despite the heavy display of opposition from the anti-vaccination community, measure was advanced out of the Assembly Health Committee with technical amendments on a 13-0 vote; two members did not vote. AB 262 next heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Health Coverage/Health Care Reform

SB 29 (Durazo) as amended on March 11, 2019 – SUPPORT

SB 29 by Senator Maria Elena Durazo was heard in the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday, also in a packed hearing room full of Health for All supporters. This measure would extend full-scope Medi-Cal to all undocumented adults in California with incomes at or below 138 percent federal poverty level (FPL). Senator Durazo during her opening remarks to the committee pointed out how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) explicitly and “unjustly” excludes undocumented immigrants from receiving health care while also noting they cannot even obtain preventive care services for conditions such asthma or diabetes. Dozens of audience members and advocates testified in support of the measure, which was voted out of the committee on a 7-1 vote. SB 29 now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee