5 Things California: Covered California rates, Joel Gray, legislative action
Thanks to Emily B and Emily V for holding down this newsletter while I was on vacation with my family. We spent time in Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro to re-learn with our kids what happens when nationalist politics takes over a country’s civic life.
Sarajevo is still recovering from over 1400 days under a modern siege. The massacre at Srebenica under the UN’s watch has not been forgotten. And the dehumanizing rhetoric about ethnicity which led up to the war is worth reflecting upon.
and Emily Viles
1. Bill creates new nonprofit reporting rules
AB 1404, a bill that attempts to close a loop-hole in certain deferred payment plans utilized by some nonprofits, passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. According to the bill, some employers, like Kaiser Permanente, offer a deferred payment option as a form of an alternative retirement plan through an arrangement between its not-for-profit and for-profit arms.
2. Covered California preliminary rate changes
Last week, Covered California announced its preliminary rates for the upcoming 2020 coverage year. The preliminary average rate change for the individual market is 0.8% — the lowest increase since 2014. According to Covered California, the small rate increase was driven by two initiatives approved by the legislature this year: the statewide individual mandate and new state subsidies for middle-income Californians. Combined, the two initiatives are expected to increase the number of Californians getting insurance by 229,000 people.
3. Mental health services in county jails
The Senate Health Committee recently held a hearing on a bill to provide individuals in county jails with better access to mental health services and treatments. The bill, SB 665, would use Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funds to pay for services such as prevention, early intervention, crisis management, and administering certain medications when necessary.
4. Video: Joel Gray, Anthem Blue Cross
“For policymakers, I really think they need to reduce some of the regulations and restrictions on telehealth. There’s kind of a lot of things that get in our way… Also, really make sure that they allow innovation to happen in private enterprise. Take some of the rules out of the way so that we can do primary care telehealth.”
5. Dem candidates all in on health care
Sam Baker at Axios says “Health care may be the most defining substantive policy disagreement among the 2020 field.” This week saw a flurry of new health care proposals from 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. Joe Biden made headlines when he released a health planthat builds on the ACA and preserves key portions of it. Sen. Bernie Sanders was quick to criticize the plan ahead of his speech on Medicare for All on Wednesday.