Bills that made it through the Senate and Assembly by the “House of Origin Deadline on June 2nd must pass a final floor vote by September 14, when we adjourn for the year. Approximately 1100 bills are currently pending in both houses and the Governor will have until October 14 to sign or veto everything that reaches his desk.
This session I’m supporting several important healthcare-related bills. They include Senate Bill 635 (Senators Menjivar & Portantino), which requires health insurers to cover medically-necessary hearing aids for persons under 21 years old. It’s estimated that two-three of every 1,000 children are born with hearing loss, which can seriously hinder their communication skills. More than 30 states require this coverage for children. Unfortunately, California is not one of them
New advances in biomarker testing, which tailors cancer treatments to a patient’s specific needs, can significantly improve survival rates. Insurance coverage has not kept pace with medical advances, and the lack of coverage has hindered biomarker testing for many patients. SB 496 (Limon), will require health insurers and the state’s Medi-Cal program to cover biomarker testing for covered patients.
Another bill involving Medi-Cal reimbursements, SB 282 (Senators Eggman & McGuire), will allow clinics to receive reimbursement for primary care and mental health services provided to patients on the same day. This is currently not allowed even when physical and mental health visits are both necessary and the services are available at the same clinic.
SB 873 (Bradford), will ensure that patients can afford their medications by directing manufacturer rebates to the patient at the time of purchase, avoiding payments to middlemen such as healthcare corporations, which can delay rebates to patients for months.
These bills have bi-partisan support. Their next stop will be the Appropriations Committee, and from there to the full Assembly, where final passage appears likely.