From The Legislatures: Calif. Assembly Passes Rate Regulation Bill

News outlets report on health policy issues in state legislatures around the country.

The San Francisco Chronicle: Bill Allows Denial Of Health Insurance Rate Hikes
The state Assembly approved a bill Thursday that would give state regulators the power to reject or modify excessive health insurance premium increases similar to the way auto and homeowner insurance is regulated in California. Lawmakers voted 47-28 to approve the measure after Republican legislators walked off the floor in protest. AB52 now moves to the state Senate (Colliver and Lago, 6/3). 

Los Angeles Times: Tougher regulation of health insurance rates wins in California Assembly
The Assembly passed AB 52, which would give the state’s elected insurance commissioner and a second regulator, the Department of Managed Health Care, under Gov. Jerry Brown, authority to reject increases they deem excessive. The regulators also could modify rate increases. This is the fourth attempt by Assembly Democrats to enact tough rate regulation (Helfand, 6/2).

The Associated Press: Wis. Lawmakers Target Police, Firefighter Benefits
The Legislature's budget committee voted early Friday morning to require newly hired police and firefighters to pay more for their health insurance and pension benefits (Bauer, 6/3).

The Texas Tribune/New York Times: Special-Session Time, But To Whose Advantage?
Texas lawmakers are back for a special session that started the day after their 140-day regular session. ... What's left are the things they couldn't work out, along with a few things that got caught in the deadlines: A school finance plan. An insurance fight pitting tort reformers against trial lawyers. Congressional redistricting. A bog of health issues that includes Medicaid managed care, health insurance exchanges, outcome-based care. A ban on sanctuary cities (Ramsey, 6/2).

The Texas Tribune: Health Bills In Legislative Committees, Again
The Senate Finance Committee — for the second time — has passed out measures designed to make Medicaid more efficient and effective, and to open the door for medical professions and institutions to collaborate. Sen. Jane Nelson's Senate Bill 7, which combines measures that ran out of time at the end of last month, would expand Medicaid managed care into South Texas, draw prescription drugs into that program, and create incentives for doctors and hospitals to work together to provide health care that's more cost effective — and has better outcomes (Ramshaw, 6/2). 

Dallas Morning News: Bill Moves Ahead To Change Texas' Health Care Payments
A Senate panel unanimously approved a comprehensive health care bill Thursday that would let doctors and hospitals experiment with new payment methods that hold promise of a more efficient medical system (Garrett, 6/2). 

The Sacramento Bee: Senate OKs Bill To Ban Minors On Tanning Beds
A bill that would let only people 18 years or older use tanning beds was approved Wednesday in the Senate. The idea in Senate Bill 746, which the Assembly has yet to consider, has sparked strong opposition from indoor tanning salons that would lose teenage customers. Medical experts contend keeping children away from ultraviolet radiation is a necessary step to prevent skin cancer (Dave, 6/2). 

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