Archive for September, 2010

Johanns Amendment Defeated!

Posted on September 16th, 2010 by HCAN California in Health Reform in California, News

The amendment from Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) to the Small Business Jobs bill was defeated this week in a vote of 46-52!

Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE)

Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE)

If passed, the Johanns Amendment would have stolen important funding away from two of important provisions - free preventive care & shared responsibility - by repealing part of the health law that requires businesses to report certain transactions as a way of improving tax collection.

We generated several thousand calls to Senators Boxer and Feinstein this week, urging them to “VOTE NO” on the amendment. Once again, our Senators showed that they understand the importance of standing up to the insurance industry and their allies in Congress, and the need to defend the gains we’ve made thus far since the passing of the health law back in March.

THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to make the phone calls & stand up for our health care!

New Report - Health Law Will NOT Increase Spending

Posted on September 9th, 2010 by HCAN California in Health Reform in California, News

For months now, the right-wing noise machine and other opponents of health reform have been claiming (ad nauseum) that the new Federal health law will result in “massive spending,” likely plummeting the country further into debt.

However, according to a New York Times article today, a government study found that the new law will have, “negligible effects on total national health spending in the next 10 years.”

“In the aggregate,” said Andrea M. Sisko, the principal author of the report, “it appears that the new law will have a moderate effect on health spending growth rates and the health care share of the economy.”

In 2009, the report said, national health spending, public and private, totaled $2.5 trillion and accounted for 17.3 percent of the economy, as measured by the gross domestic product. The report predicts that health spending will rise to $4.6 trillion and account for 19.6 percent of the economy in 2019.

By contrast, in February, before passage of the comprehensive health care law, the same team of government experts, using the same economic and demographic assumptions, predicted that national health spending would reach $4.5 trillion, or 19.3 percent of the gross domestic product, in 2019.

Meanwhile, it’s important to focus on what the Federal health law actually DOES:

  • Expands coverage to approximately 32.5 million people;
  • Allows young adults to stay on their families’ coverage through age 26;
  • Prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage to children (2010) and adults (2014) due to so-called “pre-existing conditions;”
  • Requires insurance companies to provide free preventive care services;
  • Creates the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan - for people previously unable to get coverage due to so-called “pre-existing conditions;”

Likewise, we’re continuing to work at the State level to promote legislation that would implement and improve upon the Federal health law, while also working to engage and educate the public about how the law will help them.

You can sign-up to receive the latest updates, action alerts and other info on health care by subscribing to HCAN-California above!

Update: State Implementation & Consumer Protection Bills PASSED!

Posted on September 1st, 2010 by HCAN California in California Implementation

Thanks to EVERYONE who made calls to their State Senators and State Assemblymembers over the last few weeks in support of the critical State implementation and consumer protection bills.

We generated more than 5,000 calls to legislative offices - and the results of this tremendous effort speak for themselves!

On Tuesday, the legislature passed the following bills (the last day of the legislative session):

* AB2470(De La Torre) on Eliminating Rescissions
* SB890(Alquist), to Standardize Benefits to Allow for Better Comparisons of Plans
* SB1163(Leno), to Provide 60 Day Notice and Transparency on Rate Hikes

Bills past last week include:

* AB1602 (Perez) & SB900 (Alquist), to Create a New Health Insurance Exchange
* SB56 (Alquist), to Foster New Public Health Insurance Options
* AB1825 (De La Torre), to Phase-In Maternity Coverage as a Basic Benefit
* AB1600 (Beall), to Require Mental Health Parity in Health Coverage
* AB2244 (Feuer), to Limit Premiums for Children with Pre-existing Conditions
* SB1088 (Price), to Allow Young Adults up to Age 26 To Stay on Parental Coverage
* AB2042 (Feuer),to Limit Rate Hikes and Changes to Once a Year
* AB1503 (Lieu), to Prevent ER Doctor Overcharges for the Uninsured
* AB542 (Feuer), to Prevent Medi-Cal Payment for “Never Event” Medical Errors

(Source: Health Access WeBlog)

Only one important consumer protection bill remains - AB 2578 (Jones) - introducing important oversight and regulations for when insurance companies try to raise our rates!