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Saturday, September 10, 2011

California Mandate Passes Senate, Goes to Governor

At AP, Sheila V. Kumar reports that the California mandate bill passed the State Senate. Earlier in the day, it passed the Assembly. It now goes to Governor Brown.

This bill is going to cost over $200 million dollars and will likely cost the state twice as much by 2014," said Republican Assemblyman Dan Logue of Chico, referring to the year individuals will be required to have insurance under federal health care reforms.

Others said the bill discriminates against children who are not covered by private insurance because its language excludes those covered by Medi-Cal, California's version of Medicaid, and the state-sponsored Healthy Families insurance plan.

Assemblywoman Linda Halderman, a former trauma surgeon, said she would have supported the measure if it covered all children.

"So what we've said is, it's OK to discriminate against kids with autism," said Halderman, R-Fresno, citing the bill provision limiting coverage to children covered by private insurance plans.

Assemblywoman Alyson Huber, a Democrat from El Dorado Hills, said her own child was recently diagnosed as autistic. She said at least one out of every 110 children is born on the autism spectrum and that the bill will actually save money by helping prepare them for life as adults.

"If we don't do something today, our school systems will suffer, our regional systems will suffer. We need these children to get the services that are going to help them become capable members of society," she said.