Health Care

Health Care

Published on 08/24/17

Health Care at a Glance



ASSEMBLY SPEAKER RENDON ANNOUNCES INTERIM HEARINGS TO DEVELOP PLAN FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE IN CALIFORNIA   SACRAMENTO, CA [BY MARTY OMOTO, CDCAN LAST UPDATED 08/24/2017 11:55 AM] – With continuing uncertainty at the federal level on the future of the Affordable Care Act – known also as “Obamacare” – Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (Democrat – Lakewood) announced today a series of  on-going public hearings after the Legislature adjourns for the year September 15th, to develop a plan for universal health care in California for the Legislature to consider, presumably during its 2018 session. The issue of health care coverage has major impact on people – including those with disabilities (including developmental), people with mental health needs, seniors, low income families and individuals – across the nation and in California.  The issue of access to health care – and also funding not only for health care benefits but long term services and supports funded through the federal Medicaid program – known as “Medi-Cal” in California – has been controversial that could be revisited by the US Congress when it returns from its summer recess after Labor Day (see below for details). “The fight to protect the Affordable Care Act helped galvanize the principle that health care is a basic right,” Rendon said. “There are several different approaches being proposed, including Medicare for all, single payer, hybrid systems and [Affordable Care Act] expansion. I have called for these hearings to determine what approach best gets us there – what gets us to ‘yes’ when it comes to health care for all.” The Assembly Speaker said that Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula (Democrat - Fresno), chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee #1 on Health and Human Services, and Assemblymember Jim Wood (Democrat - Healdsburg), will schedule and hold the on-going public hearings after September 15th, as co-chairs of the Assembly Select Committee on Health Care Delivery Systems and Universal Coverage, with the specific objective to help develop plans – and presumably legislation - for achieving universal health care in California.  The select committee has seven members – 5 Democrats and 2 Republicans.  Select committees differ from standing policy committees – such as the Assembly Health Committee – because while the select committees can discuss and hear issues, it cannot vote on any actual bills. The Assembly Speaker had been under constant criticism by supporters of a single payer health care legislation, SB 562, for shelving the bill this year, after narrow passage by the State Senate May 26th by a vote of 23 to 14, saying the measure needed more work to address funding and other major issues. Assembly Speaker Rendon stressed that the select committee hearings to be held during the interim after the Legislature adjourns for the year on September 15th, would not simply go back over information covered in the past, but will provide a new opportunity to determine the best and quickest path forward toward universal health care, including “overcoming potential federal and constitutional obstacles, ensuring delivery of care, and examining funding processes” needed to pay for universal coverage.     “It’s not a question of debating whether we move toward health care for all – it’s a matter of choosing how best and how soon,” Rendon said. “The [select] committee’s work will help fill the void of due diligence that should have been done on SB 562 or any universal health care bill that so profoundly affects so many Californians.” No hearing dates yet for the Assembly select committee have been announced or scheduled yet (CDCAN will report that information when it becomes available). MEMBERS OF THE ASSEMBLY SELECT COMMITTEE. The following are the current members of the Assembly Select Committee on Health Care Delivery Systems and Universal Coverage (compiled by CDCAN):CO-CHAIR: Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (Democrat – 31st Assembly District) Capitol Office, Room 5155, Sacramento, CA 94249-0031 Capitol Office Phone: (916) 319-2031 CO-CHAIR: Assemblymember Jim Wood (Democrat – 2ND Assembly District) Capitol Office, Room 6005, Sacramento, CA 94249-0002 Capitol Office Phone: (916) 319-2002   MEMBERS: Assemblymember Autumn Burke (Democrat – 62nd Assembly District) Capitol Office, Room 5150, Sacramento, CA 94249-0062 Capitol Office Phone: (916) 319-2062   Assemblymember David Chiu (Democrat – 17th Assembly District)   Capitol Office, Room 4112, Sacramento, CA 94249-0017 Capitol Office Phone: (916) 319-2017   Assemblymember Laura Friedman (Democrat – 43rd Assembly District) Capitol Office, Room 2137, Sacramento, CA 94249-0043 Capitol Office Phone: (916) 319-2043   Assemblymember Tom Lackey (Republican - 36th Assembly District) Capitol Office, Room 2174, Sacramento, CA 94249-0036 Capitol Office Phone: (916) 319-2036   Assemblymember Marie Waldron (Republican – 75th Assembly District) Capitol Office, Room 4130, Sacramento, CA 94249-0075 Capitol Office Phone: (916) 319-2075   LINKS TO SELECT COMMITTEE AND HEALTH CARE SINGLE PAYER LEGISLATION Assembly Select Committee Health Care Delivery Systems and Universal Coverage webpage (on the Assembly website): SB 562 – As Amended May 26, 2017 – PDF Document Copy (38 pages): SB 562 – As Amended May 26, 2017 – HTML Version:   US SENATE HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR, AND PENSIONS COMMITTEE HEARINGS IN SEPTEMBER 6 AND 7   SACRAMENTO, CA [BY MARTY OMOTO, CDCAN LAST UPDATED 08/24/2017 12:55 PM] – US Senator Lamar Alexander (Republican – Tennessee), chair of the US Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Ranking Member Patty Murray (Democrat – Washington) announced on Tuesday (August 22) at least two hearings the committee will hold to hear ideas on how to help “stabilize” premiums in the individual health care insurance market so that the 1”8 million Americans in the individual market will be able to buy insurance at affordable prices in the year 2018”. Alexander and Murray said that the committee intends to have more bipartisan hearings on the individual insurance market and that those details will be announced at a later date. As previously reported, while the US House of Representatives passed in May legislation that would repeal and replace Obamacare, including massive cuts and changes to the Medicaid program, the US Senate, in a series of votes, rejected that legislation – and a proposal to simply repeal the Affordable Care Act. It is not clear yet if US Senate Republicans will try to revive those proposals when it returns from summer recess, as President Trump is urging. Previously, before recessing for the summer following the failure of a late night vote to repeal and replace Obamacare, US Senate Republican leaders expressed disappointment but intentions to move on to other issues – and perhaps focus on ways to fix or address health care problems under the Affordable Care Act. In addition to that contentious issue is also other big issues Congress will need to address when it returns that could impact health care: passage of the series of bills that make-up the federal budget (for the federal budget year that begins October 1st) that includes funding for health and human services (including Medicaid funding), housing and more; and the issue of raising the limit of money that the federal government can borrow to pay its debts – referred to as the “debt ceiling”. Federal officials – including policymakers in Congress – have warned that failure to raise the “debt ceiling” could result in a federal government “shutdown” that, in addition to potential devasting impact to the economy, could have an increasing significant impact - depending on how long it goes - on people with disabilities, mental health needs, the people who are blind, seniors and others. The following are details of the two scheduled hearings by the US Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (more hearings may be announced) (compiled by CDCAN): WHEN: SEPTEMBER 6, 2017 – WEDNESDAY TIME: 10:00 AM (East coast time – 7 AM Pacific) WHO: US Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee WHAT: Hearing SUBJECT: Stabilizing Premiums and Helping Individuals in the Individual Insurance Market for 2018: State Insurance Commissioners LOCATION: SD-430 (Washington, DC) SCHEDULED TO TESTIFY: no names released yet.   WHEN: SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 – THURSDAY TIME: 09:00 AM (East coast time – 6 AM Pacific) WHO: US Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee WHAT: Hearing SUBJECT: Stabilizing Premiums and Helping Individuals in the Individual Insurance Market for 2018: Governors LOCATION: SD-430 (Washington, DC) SCHEDULED TO TESTIFY: Alexander and Murray announced Wednesday (August 23) that governors representing the states of Massachusetts, Montana, Tennessee, Utah and Colorado will be testifying: Charlie Baker, Governor, State of Massachusetts Steve Bullock, Governor, State of Montana Bill Haslam, Governor, State of Tennessee Gary Herbert, Governor, State of Utah John W. Hickenlooper, Governor, State of Colorado The following are statements released by US Senators Alexander and Murray on Tuesday (August 21), after the two hearing dates were scheduled and announced: SENATOR ALEXANDER, Committee Chair (Republican): “Eighteen million Americans, including 350,000 Tennesseans – songwriters, farmers, and the self-employed – do not get their health insurance from the government or on the job, which means they must buy insurance in the individual market. My goal by the end of September is to give them peace of mind that they will be able to buy insurance at a reasonable price for the year 2018. While there are a number of issues with the American health care system, if your house is on fire, you want to put out the fire, and the fire in this case is in the individual health insurance market. Unless Congress acts by September 27—when insurance companies must sign contracts with the federal government to sell insurance on the federal exchange in 2018— 9 million Americans in the individual market who receive no government help purchasing health insurance and whose premiums have already skyrocketed may see their premiums go up even more. Even those with subsidies in up to half our states may find themselves with zero options for buying health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges in 2018.”  “At these hearings, we will hear testimony from state insurance commissioners and governors—those closest to the problem—on steps Congress can take to help make insurance available at affordable prices. Any solution that Congress passes for a 2018 stabilization package will have to be small, bipartisan and balanced. It should give states more flexibility in approving insurance policies by improving section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act as well as fund the cost-sharing reduction payments to help stabilize premiums for 2018. I look forward to finishing our work by the end of September in time to have an effect on the health insurance policies sold in 2018 and to give these millions of Americans the peace of mind that they will be able to buy health insurance for next year.” SENATOR MURRAY – Ranking Member (Democratic): “It is clearer than ever that the path to continue making health care work better for patients and families isn’t through partisanship or backroom deals. It is through working across the aisle, transparency, and coming together to find common ground where we can. I’m pleased to announce with Chairman Alexander that our first two bipartisan hearings in the HELP Committee will be dedicated to hearing from state insurance commissioners and governors from across the country. These state leaders understand full well the challenges facing health care today and many have been outspoken about how the uncertainty caused by this Administration has impacted the individual insurance market and therefore families’ premiums for 2018. Through these and other planned public hearings, we have the critical opportunity to work together toward an agreement by the end of September to help prevent millions of patients and families from paying more for the care they need next year. It is my hope that we can act quickly and in a responsible manner that builds upon our efforts to make health care more affordable, accessible, and higher quality for all.”   CDCAN - MARTY OMOTO YOUTUBE CHANNEL A CDCAN (Marty Omoto, family member and advocate) youtube channel was set up and has several videos dealing with current – and previous state budget issues, disability and senior rights, and advocacy. To see the current videos, including March 2014 San Andreas Regional Center Aptos Legislative Breakfast, January 2014 panel discussion on services for adults with autism spectrum and related disorders in Palo Alto, and older videos including video of April 2003 march of over 3,000 people with developmental disabilities, families, providers, regional centers and others from the Sacramento Convention Center to the State Capitol (to attend and testify at budget hearing on proposed massive permanent cuts to regional center funded services, go to the CDCAN (Marty Omoto) Channel at: