Health Care Treatment Mandate Amended, Removed from Job Killer List

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As a result of recent amendments, a California Chamber of Commerce-opposed bill has been removed from the job killer list.

AB 2384 (Arambula; D-Kingsburg) was amended on June 14 to remove the job killer tag, but CalChamber remains opposed.

Prior to amendments, the bill would have increased health care premiums by mandating medication-assisted treatment for substance disorders and by eliminating all quality control and cost containment mechanisms.

While the bill does not mandate new medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders in commercial plans provided to individuals and small businesses, it would prohibit utilization management and limit cost sharing, both of which are critical to managing better health care outcomes and access to affordable care, CalChamber states in its letter explaining the removal of the job killer tag.

Eliminates Cost Controls

AB 2384 eliminates a number of mechanisms that control costs and provide consumer protections. For example, without utilization tools, patients could shift to higher-priced treatments and away from lower-priced treatments with the higher-priced treatment not providing benefits commensurate with the costs. Also, consumer protections are eroded with the elimination of the tools health insurers use to maintain quality.

Increased Health Care Premiums

Although the bill is well-intentioned, employers and individuals already are facing significant increases of their health insurance premiums. Some analysts suggest 2019 premiums in California could increase by as much as 35%.

The costs of AB 2384 will fall solely on individuals, and small and medium employers because most large employers are self-insured and not subject to the bill. It also will encourage employers that can move to self-insurance to do so as a way to avoid the increased costs. The shift to self-insured employers away from insured employers leaves a smaller pool of employers over which to spread the new costs.

Finally, increasing premiums will drive healthy risk out of the market, leaving fewer to pay for health care, the letter states.

Action Needed

AB 2384 is set for hearing in the Senate Health Committee on June 27. The CalChamber is encouraging members to contact their senators and Senate Health members to urge them to oppose AB 2384. For an easy-to-edit sample letter, visit the grassroots action center at www.calchambervotes.com.

For more information on the remaining job killer bills, visit www.CAJobKillers.com.

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