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Bill would mandate maternity coverage

February 2, 2011
Bill would mandate maternity coverage The chairwoman of the Legislative Women's Caucus has introduced a bill that would require health insurance plans marketed to individuals to include comprehensive maternity coverage.

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3.4 million Californians would get coverage through federal reform

January 5, 2011
About 3.4 million Californians who would otherwise be without health insurance will have coverage by 2016 if the federal health reform approved last year is implemented on schedule, according to new research published in the journal Health Affairs. The boost in coverage would mean that 96 percent of Californians under age 65 who are legal residents in the U.S. would have some form of private or public health insurance, according to the article, by Peter Long, president and chief executive officer of the Blue Shield of California Foundation, and Jonathan Gruber, a health economics expert and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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New rules require insurers to justify rate increases

December 21, 2010
The Obama Administration has rolled out new rules requiring health insurers to justify any annual rate increases of more than 10 percent. The proposed regulations, unveiled Tuesday by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, represent an escalation of federal involvement in a field historically left to the states.

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Federal judge rules against Obama health care plan

December 13, 2010
A federal judge in Virginia has ruled that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to require people to buy insurance -- a crucial piece of the health reform bill passed earlier this year. Judge Henry Hudson ruled that the so-called individual mandate in the health reform law oversteps the power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce.

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Nearly 6 million Californians lack access to jobs-based health coverage

November 30, 2010
Living in a household with someone who has a job is no guarantee that a Californian will have access to job-based health insurance, according to a report from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

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Republicans will find it harder to repeal health reform than it was to campaign against it

November 3, 2010
Newly ascended Republicans in Congress say one of their first goals will be to repeal the health care reform law Democrats in Congress and President Barack Obama enacted in March. But that task is likely to prove more difficult than they believe, or at least harder than Republican politicians are letting on to their supporters. The bill's parts, it appears, are far more popular than the idea of a big, federally engineered overhaul of health care. See Daniel Weintraub's analysis.

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Blue Shield Foundation funds county grants to expand health services

September 21, 2010

By Daniel Weintraub

A major health insurance company’s non-profit foundation is giving nearly $2 million to 12 California counties to help them plan for a federally-financed expansion of care to low-income residents.

The grants will help the counties apply for federal money to match what they are already spending on care for the indigent, allowing them to expand that service in advance of changes coming as part of the federal health reform enacted early this year.

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Schwarzenegger weighs two bills to boost insurance regulation

September 8, 2010
California lawmakers last month rejected a bill that would have subjected health insurance companies to the same kind of regulation that auto insurers now face, requiring them to get prior approval from the state when they want to raise their rates. But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger probably would have vetoed that bill anyway. Instead, the Legislature sent the governor two bills that seek to strengthen the state's oversight of the industry while stopping short of direct rate regulation. It will be interesting to see if these more modest bills, which are still opposed by the insurance industry, escape Schwarzenegger's veto pen in the weeks ahead.

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Insurance oversight advances but rate regulation stalls

August 30, 2010
The Assembly on Monday approved legislation to toughen oversight of health insurance rate hikes but the Senate has rejected, at least for now, a measure to require state approval before companies can increase their premiums.

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New data on insurance coverage by California county

August 23, 2010
The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has posted a new fact sheet that shows the estimated percentage of uninsured Californians by county, updating numbers published earlier this year. The data show that the number of uninsured grew in every California county, and that 37 counties have a higher percentage of uninsured residents than the statewide average of 24.3 percent. The counties where the most people have lost coverage in recent months are, not surprisingly, among the poorest in the state.

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