All significant changes are followed by times of uncertainty. The recent election is proof of that. With all the changes related to the new U.S. administration, the future of health care in America is uncertain. One thing that is certain and abundantly clear, however, is that health care and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a top priority for the new administration. In fact, the campaign website states that on day one of the new administration, “we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare.”
There is no doubt that the ACA will be under attack in the coming year, either by way of a full repeal, or more likely an effort to cripple the law by repealing its funding provisions. What does this mean for California employers who need and rely upon healthy employees and a strong and able workforce?
Affordable Care Act
The ACA was signed into law on March 23, 2010 with the intent of reforming the health care industry and giving more Americans access to quality health care. By 2014, once most of the provisions were in effect, the ACA had made significant changes to health care laws and affected how millions of Americans and Californians access health care. It built upon existing employer-based coverage and imposed new requirements on states, health insurers, employers, employees and other individuals in an effort to expand coverage to millions of uninsured Americans and control the increasing cost of health care.
Promote a sound and affordable health care system. Work to contain costs and avoid unnecessary and expensive regulatory controls, including mandates.
Stopped health care mandates in 2016 that threatened the long-term affordability of health care premiums (AB 2209, AB 3400, SB 1034, AB 1763, AB 2004, AB 2764).
Supported enactment in 2016 of special session measure to preserve a crucial state-federal funding mechanism for the Medi-Cal program (SBX2 2).
Opposed initiative defeated by voters in 2016 that would have increased health care premiums and out-of-pocket costs by shifting the cost of prescription drugs from government purchasers to private payers (Proposition 61).
Supported well-crafted health care funding proposal signed into law that preserves critical funding for the state’s Medi-Cal program, which is critical for the health care delivery system, without undermining the affordability of commercial health care purchased by employers, families, and individuals. (SBX2 2 of 2016)
Stopped 2015 Job Killer that would have increased health care costs by granting ability for state regulators to unilaterally alter large-group rate changes (SB 546.)
Controlling Health Care Costs in 2015:
- Stopped coverage mandates that would have increased employer premiums (SB 190, SB 289).
- Supported legislation signed mid-year to extend funding for program to provide the Legislature with valuable independent analyses of medical, financial and public health impacts of proposed health insurance mandates (SB 125).
- Blocked new targeted taxes on employer health insurance (SBX2 14, ABX2 19, ABX2 4)
Stopped state proposals in recent years that would have increased health care premiums by establishing numerous health care coverage mandates.
Promoted voter rejection of ballot measures in 2014 that would have led to increased health care costs: Proposition 45 and its fundamentally flawed approach of giving the state Insurance Commissioner authority to approve health insurance rates (thereby potentially delaying health care decisions); and Proposition 46, which would have removed the longstanding cap on pain and suffering awards in medical malpractice lawsuits.
Blocked legislative proposals in 2014 that would have increased health care costs, including new health care mandates (AB 1771, SB 1053) and bills that would have undermined managed care plan savings (AB 2533) or nonprescription-based health care products and services (AB 1917).
Supported urgency measure in 2014 helping small employers control health care costs by allowing them to extend pre-Affordable Care Act policies through the end of December 2015 (SB 1446).
Advocated signing of legislation in 2014 eliminating confusion on waiting period limitations for health care coverage (SB 1034).
• Promote efforts to contain health care costs and improve access to high-quality health care by supporting a health care system that is affordable and improves the overall health of California citizens.
• Work to avoid unnecessary, expensive regulatory controls and the imposition of new coverage mandates, by allowing market forces to continue playing a predominant role in driving innovation and transforming health care delivery.
• Continue to support managed care legislation and regulatory action that promotes quality care and cost containment.
• Encourage personal responsibility for individual health care, including coverage, wellness and education, in order to enhance quality of life and achieve long-term health care cost savings.
• Oppose policies and initiatives that shift the cost of health care programs and coverage of the uninsured and underinsured to employers.
• Support opportunities to gain efficiencies and optimal outcomes by coordinating the fragmented health care delivery systems.
• Support efforts to streamline government regulations in order to increase efficiency and reduce overall administrative burdens.
• Support innovative solutions to improve access, quality and cost of health care delivery, including inter-operable e-prescribing with the appropriate assistance for developing infrastructure.
• Support policies that encourage continued Medi-Cal discoveries and innovations that improve quality of care.
• Support the development of a public database with independent governance and clearly defined requirements related to data collection and submission to provide information to purchasers about the quality and value of health care services, providers, and coverage in the state.
• Support efforts to ensure Medi-Cal is fully funded.
2017 Business Issues and Legislative Guide
Agriculture and Resources
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
Expanding Opportunity — An Agenda for All Californians
Health Care Reform
Labor and Employment
Health Care Bills
Health Care, Education