The houses of the legislature are attempting to continue the health care reforms regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision.
If the lawmakers in the state are successful, affordable California health insurance will remain available to residents with pre-existing conditions who are purchasing their coverage on the individual market in 2014 no matter what ruling the United States Supreme Court makes later on in June 2012.
Identical bills in both houses of the legislature have been put forward for the coverage of pre-existing conditions.
They would also form new regulations for the calculation of premiums. For example, it would not be possible for an individual at a later age to have to pay triple the premiums that would be seen by a younger individual.
According to Senator Ed Hernandez (D) who proposed the bill, “I feel tremendous responsibility to ensure that California continues to lead the nation, implementing federal reform, and that we serve as a model for the rest of this country.”
However, Republicans have questioned the intention to proceed before the decision has been made by the Supreme Court.
Senator Sam Blakeslee (R) has raised the concern that if there is guaranteed California health insurance, without a requirement to buy (as could be the case if the Supreme Court decides that mandated purchasing of coverage is unconstitutional), then only those who are ill or who have higher risks will take part in the market. According to Senator Blakeslee, this could cause costs to skyrocket and the insurance pool to shrink. He believes that these changes to the market would lead it to “fail, and potentially catastrophically.”
That said, the California health insurance industry is aiming to amend the bills to so that the mandate is included.
According to the California Association of Health Plans CEO, Patrick Johnston, “Disconnecting the requirement to join the insurance pool from the duty to sell insurance at the same price, doesn’t work.”
However the bills’ advocates claim that they would accomplish the implementation of critical elements of the federal healthcare reforms. This is important because the present California health insurance laws – says Pedro Morillas, the CALPIRG legislative director – leaves individuals with pre-existing medical conditions in an uninsurable position.