California’s Rate-Setting Bill Shelved

California Assemblyman Ash Kalra

A radical change to setting healthcare prices in California failed to make it out of a legislative committee, with its advocates promising to bring the proposal back next year as hospital and physician lobbyists claimed victory for defeating a bill it called an “unprecedented threat to patient access.”

The legislation, sponsored by California Assemblyman Ash Kalra, a Democrat from San Jose, would have created a state commission to set rates for many medical services currently covered by private insurers in the group and nongroup markets. This would’ve included everything from inpatient stays to office visits, with the Medicare rate acting as the floor for the private insurance prices.

From the beginning, it was opposed by the California Hospital Association, which claimed the bill “would take billions out of the state’s healthcare system” and “cripple patient access” to care. (read more)