CSAC Bulletin Article

Health and Human Services 01/25/2013

Governor Opens Special Legislative Session on Health Care Reform

Governor Brown called an extraordinary legislative session on health care reform yesterday, opening a legislative fast-track for implementing policy related to the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) in California. 
The Governor is asking the Legislature to tackle issues related to the state’s private health coverage market, including ACA provisions requiring guaranteed issue of coverage, pre-existing condition exclusions, rating restrictions, and any other regulations promulgated from the ACA. He is also asking Legislators to work on changes to Medi-Cal, including conforming to federal law in the areas of eligibility, enrollment, and retention. The third topic to be addressed in the special session concerns the creation of a safety net subsidized insurance program, similar to the concept of a Basic Health Plan, which would allow low-cost health coverage through the Exchange (called Covered California) for those with income up to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
The Administration will introduce language on the individual market and mandatory Medicaid changes during the special session. Both houses of the Legislature are also expected to introduce measures related to the above issues. 

It is noteworthy that the Governor’s proclamation addresses issues related to the “mandatory” expansion of Medicaid and not the “optional” expansion of Medi-Cal to single childless adults up to 138 percent of the FPL. The Administration has proposed two possible models for the “optional” expansion, one administered by the state, the other by the counties. 
For background, extraordinary, or special, legislative sessions run concurrently with the regular legislative session, and according to the California Constitution, only those issues outlined in the Governor’s proclamation may be introduced. Measures passed in the special session and signed by the Governor will take effect 90 days after the adjournment of the special session. 

View the Governor’s proclamation here.

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