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Californians' Access To Care At Risk From Mandates

Proquest LLC

Former Congressman and State Finance Director Tom Campbell released results of a new study that warns that thousands of Californians could be shut out of the health care they need, even if they have health coverage, if new regulations and mandates are approved by the state Legislature.

According to a release, Campbell, working in partnership with the Berkeley Research Group and the California Hospital Association (CHA), found that new mandates, such as those contained in Assembly Bill (AB) 975, would put pressure on the state budget, reduce public access to health care, and threaten successful implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act.

"Lawmakers may not be intentionally seeking to undermine health care reform, but new mandates in AB 975 or other similar legislation would result in less hospital capacity, the loss of health care jobs, and a loss of state tax revenues," Campbell said. "Instead of moving forward with greater access to care, cumbersome new regulations would be a giant step backward."

AB 975 was defeated last year but is pending again this year in the Legislature. It would re-write California's effective community benefit rules and impose new mandates on the state's non-profit hospitals to meet every identified need, regardless of cost, forcing a one-size-fits-all mandate on California's diverse communities, the group said.

"Our non-profit hospitals are preparing to meet the demands of more than three million people who will have new access to health care as a result of federal health care reform," CHA President/CEO C. Duane Dauner said. "AB 975 or bills with similar mandates would create unrealistic requirements and reduce the ability of hospitals to meet their individual communities' health care needs."

The Campbell Report found that a 10 percent increase in non- profit hospital costs would reduce the number of patients who could be served by 54,000, which would result in the loss of $413 million in hospital wages and the loss of $25 million in state income tax revenues.

"We should be focusing on ensuring success of the Affordable Care Act and making sure people can get the medical care they need instead of bureaucratic rules that will limit access," Dauner concluded.

((Comments on this story may be sent to newsdesk@closeupmedia.com))

Copyright: (c) 2014 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.
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