AB 3087 (Kalra D-San Jose) was held on the Suspense File in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. That means it is dead for the year and session. This radical new legislation that would increase patient out-of-pocket costs and result in a dangerous government intrusion into the health care market by creating state-sanctioned rationing of health care for all Californians.
Assembly Bill 3087 would have established an undemocratic, government-run commission with nine political appointees who would unilaterally set the price for all medical services that are not already controlled by the government, essentially eliminating commercial health care markets in California. In its first iteration none of the political appointees are required to be patient-focused or have any tangible experience in the delivery of health care to patients. Amendments would add one physician to the panel.
The CSP has joined with a variety of medical organizations, the hospital association, health plans and the Ca. Chamber of Commerce in opposing the bill. It would allow the Commission to set rates for physician services using Medicare rates as a benchmark indicating the rates would be higher but with no specifics. The bill does nothing to address the inadequate payment rates of Medi-Cal or Medicare or lack of primary care physicians.
When the bill's fate was announced by the Appropriations Committee Chair she indicated that the author and sponsors agreed to not move the bill but that the issue is by no means dead. The dialogue on this policy will continue on into next year.
In the meantime the 2018-19 state budget that is headed to the Governor includes funding to create a state database of healthcare payments. It would collect and analyze the actual payments made to physicians, hospitals and other providers by health plans and insurers. There is a bill moving through the Legislature that would create the same database and is part of the health care reform study committee outcome.