CSAC Bulletin Article

Health and Human Services 02/15/2013

Santa Clara Supervisor to Testify at Senate Budget Hearing on Medi-Cal Expansion

The Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee will meet on February 21 for an informational hearing titled “Evaluating State and County Risks and Responsibilities for Medi–Cal Simplification and Expansion under the Affordable Care Act.”

The Committee will hear from panels of experts on the risks and responsibilities associated with the Medi-Cal expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and will explore the challenges of a county-based or state-based Medi-Cal expansion. Santa Clara County Supervisor and CSAC Health and Human Services Policy Committee Vice Chair Ken Yeager is slated to present the county perspective as part of the local government panel. Supervisor Yeager’s panel will also include representatives from Los Angeles County, the County Medical Services Program, Behavioral Health, and health plans. Additional speakers and panels include representatives from the Brown Administration, the Legislative Analyst’s Office, and experts on the population of people who will remain uninsured. This hearing is an informational hearing, so Committee action on any of the issues mentioned is not expected, but the public will have the opportunity to comment after the panel presentations.

Special Session on Health Care Reform

Both houses are moving forward with legislation in the special session on health care reform called by the Governor. 

The Assembly Health Committee is convening an informational hearing titled “The Affordable Care Act: The Economic and Coverage Impact of Implementing the Medicaid Expansion and Simplification Provisions” on February 19. Immediately following the hearing, Committee chair Richard Pan will convene in special session to hear ABX1 1, a measure by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez to implement provisions of the ACA to streamline eligibility and enrollment in the state’s Medi-Cal system. 
The Assembly Health Committee will meet again on February 20 in special session to hear ABX1 2, a measure by Committee Chair Pan to implement provisions of the ACA related to health care coverage provided by health plans. 

On the Senate side, the Senate Health Committee will convene in special session on February 20 to hear SBX1 2, which mirrors ABX1 2 related to health care coverage by health plans. The Senate Health Committee will meet again on February 27 to hear SBX1 1, which is the Senate version of ABX1 1 regarding Medi-Cal enrollment and eligibility changes. 

Covered California Releases Plan Standardization Blueprint 

Covered California, California’s health insurance exchange, released the blueprint for plan standardization on February 13, which will allow individual purchasers of health insurance to compare plans, benefits, and premiums in a single online marketplace. 

Those who are not eligible for Medi-Cal or covered by employer-based insurance will have four levels of plans from which to choose: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each level has a set menu of covered benefits and copayments, which allows consumers to choose a plan that best fits their income level and health needs. Some households may also be eligible for financial help in the form of tax credits to purchase plans through Covered California. The online marketplace will be open for business starting October 1 of this year, and coverage will begin on January 1, 2014, when the main provisions of the Affordable Care Act become operative. 

California has led the nation in the creation of our online health insurance exchange, and the federal government has poured nearly $1 billion in grants into Covered California to ensure it is operable by October. To see the blueprint, visit www.CoveredCA.com.

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