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As previously reported, the Senate Health Committee previously heard AB 52 by Assemblyman Feuer last week. The bill, sponsored by Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, would require health plans and health insurers to apply for prior approval of proposed rate increases.
This bill is supported by a number of consumer, labor, and business groups. There is a long list of opponents to this bill which includes the health insurers and plans, hospitals, physicians, and business groups such as the California Chamber of Commerce. All of the testimony on this measure was taken last week, and was quite lengthy with all of the questions from committee members.
At that time, it did not appear that Assemblyman Feuer had the votes necessary to get his measure out of the committee. Last Wednesday, the measure was brought up again for a vote only.
At the hearing, Assemblyman Feuer thanked the Chairman of the committee, Senator Ed Hernandez, for his hard work over the weekend to develop some amendments to the measure which would garner the votes needed for the bill to advance. The amendments were not provided in detail or in the committee analysis but the author committed to taking them before the measure reaches the Senate Floor. All Republicans on the committee voted against the bill. Two Democratic members, including the Chair, stated they would vote for the bill to advance, but reserved the right to change their vote on the Floor if the amendments still do not resolve their concerns.
As promised to be amended, AB 52 passed the committee with a vote of 5-3.