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Committee Gives 'Mega Bill' Go-Ahead

A special legislative session committee in the California Legislature approved a far-reaching bill on Thursday that imposes a $2-a-pack tax on cigarettes and a similar tax on electronic cigarettes, institutes a revised version of the current tax on managed care organizations, funds programs to curb tobacco use, pays for a 7 percent restoration in In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) hours, provides money to bolster services for the developmentally disabled and boosts pay rates for providers of those services.

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One-Fourth of Employers Offering Health Benefits Will Be Hit With ACA's 'Cadillac Tax'

One in four employers offering health care benefits will be subject to the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) so-called "Cadillac tax" in 2018, and 42 percent of employers will be affected a decade after that, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Under the ACA, employers that offer health plans with annual premiums of more than $10,200 for individuals or $27,500 for families will pay a 40 percent excise tax on the portion of the premiums that exceeds those thresholds. The tax is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2018. Some employers could begin making changes to benefits now to avoid the tax.

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California's Aging Population Could Strain Health Care System

California's health care system could struggle to meet the demand of the state's growing aging population, according to two new reports, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.

Details of CHCF Report

According to a report by the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF), California's population of residents ages 65 or older is projected to more than double by 2040. As a result, that population's demand for health care services will increase, but the effects will be disproportionate depending on service type and location.

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Report Highlights Importance of California's Social Safety Net for Children's Health

About 2.3 million California children live in poverty -- but that number would go up by 1.28 million if the state's social safety net programs were not available, according to a report from the Public Policy Institute of California.

Although government assistance is available for so many, wide variations in enrollment from county to county have led to disparities, according to the PPIC report released earlier this year.

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Governor's Special Session on Health Care Financing

Facing billions in funding challenges for our state’s health care infrastructure in 2016, Governor Jerry Brown recently began a special legislative session on health care financing. In this, hearings are being held in the Senate and Assembly to discuss the needs of our continuously expanding Medi-Cal population, services for people with developmental disabilities, and - most prominently - expiration of the current Managed Care Organization (MCO) tax structure.

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Governor's Special Session on Health Care Financing

Facing billions in funding challenges for our state’s health care infrastructure in 2016, Governor Jerry Brown recently began a special legislative session on health care financing. In this, hearings are being held in the Senate and Assembly to discuss the needs of our continuously expanding Medi-Cal population, services for people with developmental disabilities, and - most prominently - expiration of the current Managed Care Organization (MCO) tax structure.

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Assembly Panel Rejects Nurse Practitioners' Scope-of-Practice Bill

On Tuesday, the Assembly Committee on Business and Professions rejected a bill (SB 323) that aimed to allow nurse practitioners to treat patients without the supervision of a physician if certified by an authority such as a hospital, medical group, accountable care organization or clinic, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports (Walters, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 6/30).

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Brown, California Lawmakers Reach Budget Deal After Compromises

On Tuesday, California lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown (D) announced a $115.4 billion budget deal with several health care implications, the Los Angeles Times' "PolitiCal" reports (Mason, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 6/16).

The deal comes after the California Legislature on Monday passed its budget plan (AB 93) hours ahead of the deadline to do so.

The initial $117.5 billion general fund plan assumed that the state would get about $2.3 billion more in revenue than estimated in Brown's revised version of the fiscal year 2015-2016 budget plan, which was released in May (California Healthline, 6/16).

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ACA Changes Provide Big Opportunities for Small Businesses

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare), all health plans must now have 10 essential benefits, including hospitalization, prescription drugs, maternity care and mental health treatments. Any health plans that do not meet all 10 requirements were to be canceled at the end of 2014, but Gov. Brown signed SB 1446 last July, giving California’s businesses with fewer than 50 employees an extra year to obtain ACA-compliant health coverage. If the eligible businesses' sponsored health plans still do not meet the law's requirements at the end of this year, such plans will be canceled. cancelled

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L.A. Area Chamber Health Care Team Gears Up for ACCESS Sacramento, May 19-20

Since last December, the L.A. Area Chamber’s Health Care Council has been closely monitoring the health care legislation under discussion in Sacramento. From insuring the undocumented, increasing Medi-Cal rates, updating charity care requirements, transparency in the creation of specialty drugs and allowances for nurse practitioners, we’ve seen quite an active start to the 2015 legislative session.

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