California continues to be a national leader in healthcare price and transparency initiatives.
In past legislative terms, California legislation sought to provide additional processes and structures to improve healthcare price transparency and, in effect, lower costs. In September 2016, Governor Brown signed a bill that requires health insurers to notify their policyholders when regulators think their price hikes are too high (SB 908), and a bill that protects patients from out-of-network provider “surprise bills” (AB 72). Other proposed legislation sought to reduce healthcare costs by requiring insurance carriers to provide a minimum value of 60%; and by clarifying family and individual family member cost sharing.
For the 2017-2018 legislative term, the California legislature considered 5,617 bills and resolutions that coalesced around four themes. Specifically, California has made great strides in the last legislative term to limit out of pocket expenses, explore single payer system once again, strengthen merger review authority of health care entities with exception to those regarding emergency services, increase transparency in health care costs, and affirm medical loss ratios (read more in 2017-2018 Term Recap Part 1 and Part 2 on The Source Blog).
Overall, California remains an active participant in the initiative to reduce healthcare costs and improve price transparency. California’s legislation and regulation aligns with similarly active and progressive states by focusing on pharmaceutical costs and stakeholder transparency measures. With a new governor, the new 2019-2020 legislative cycle may bring about more bills that disrupt, regulate, or contain health care markets and prices.
The State Database
The Source tracks state activities impacting healthcare price and competition in both legislation and litigation in a searchable database to help stakeholders at the state level understand their legal and regulatory environment as they make efforts to improve access, quality, and efficiency, and reduce costs in healthcare. We currently cover bills from the 2017-2018 legislative term and key statutes from each state. Search the database for specific bills, statutes or cases by using keyword, key issue category, and/or jurisdiction.
*Note: 2019 legislative session updates are currently in progress. Check back weekly for updates.
LEGISLATIVE CALENDARCalifornia’s current legislative session runs from 1/7/2019 – 11/30/2019. Bills from 2019 will carry over to 2020 as part of the 2019-2020 legislative term.
FY 2018 BUDGETCalifornia’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30. After its introduction, the legislature has until June 15 to pass the budget. To view California’s Department of Health and Human Services FY 2018 Budget, visit page 23.
- California was one of 16 states to file an amicus brief supporting the FTC’s winning position in the Ninth Circuit appeal of St. Luke’s Health Care Sys. v. FTC, No. 14-35173 (March 7, 2014), decided February 10, 2015. The States’ brief stated that the acceleration of health care costs due to the growth of large health care provider systems had become a matter of grave concern for the states.