It has been quite a busy and month of action in the Legislature on SB 320 (Beall), the Brain Injury Access To Treatment Act. On May 1, due to the tireless efforts of BIACAL and its thousands of supporters, our bill, SB 320 was approved by the Senate Health Committee on a vote of 5-2. This action was the direct result of hundreds of letters and signed petitions from SB 320 supporters as well as compelling testimony by a wide ranging group of witnesses who traveled to Sacramento to testify and support BIACAL sponsored bill.
Unfortunately on May 23rd, we suffered a temporary setback on the forward movement of our bill when it was acted upon before the Senate Appropriations Committee. On that day not only was SB 320 considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee, but 283 other bills with a State General Fund cost collectively totaling over $3.5 billion of new State costs were also heard. The Appropriations Committee, in supporting Governor Brown’s strict edict of holding the line on new General Fund spending, held bills containing over 90% of that new additional General Fund spending that was being proposed by those 284 bills heard that day.
Although SB 320 was cited for roughly $270,000 costs for the development of regulations, review of health plan filings, and initial enforcement activities by the Department of Managed Health Care (Managed Care Fund); as well as ongoing costs of about $200,000 per year for responding to customer complaints and enforcement activities by the Department of Managed Health Care (Managed Care Fund), and one-time costs of $150,000 to $300,000 for the development of regulations and the review of insurance policy filings by the Department of Insurance (Insurance Fund), the fact that an analysis stated there were “unknown costs” related to programs such as Medi-Cal and CalPers, as well as Unknown Costs to the state to pay for subsidized health care coverage through the California Health Benefit Exchange resulted in the Appropriations Committee holding the bill in Committee.
So what’s next? SB 320 is now a two-year bill (January 2014) while we work with the cost analyst and the Senate to address the fiscal impact of our legislation. We want to again thank you for all you have done to help move SB 320 closer to being law and we will keep you advised on our progress to address the “unknown costs” issue and your role in future supporting efforts for the Brain Injury Access To Treatment Act (SB 320 (Beall).