Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

California Leaders Still Need Agreement on Links to Federal Health Law

Feb 18, 2013

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

State lawmakers will be looking at changes to insurance market rules under the Affordable Care Act this week.

As health care reporter Pauline Bartolone reports from Sacramento, lawmakers and the administration still need to reach agreement about the link between state and federal law. 

Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill last year that was similar to new measures in this year’s special session on health care. 

The administration still wants to link the state and federal insurance rules that deal with health premium pricing and guaranteeing coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. That way, if the Affordable Care Act were amended, state rules wouldn’t have to be changed. 

But Senate Health Committee Chair Ed Hernandez says there’s still no “tie-back” language in his bill this year. 

“Maybe back then the tie-backs were necessary, because we didn’t know what the re-election was going to look like for President Obama. He was reelected. It’s very unlikely the federal Affordable Care Act is going to be repealed. So I at this point need to be convinced why we need tie backs,” says Hernandez.

California insurance plans share the Governor’s position. They want the protection of the federal law’s subsidies and mandates. 

Legislative committees will hear the bills on Wednesday.  

Lawmakers will also look at a Medi-Cal expansion bill this week.