Latest Amendments to AB 975 Conflict with Federal Affordable Care Act

Apr 29, 2013, 14:55 ET from California Hospital Association

SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 29, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following statement is being issued by C. Duane Dauner , President/CEO, California Hospital Association:

Since its introduction, Assembly Bill (AB) 975 has faced bipartisan opposition.   Today it was scheduled to have been considered in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee. That hearing has been canceled, however, and the bill removed from the committee's jurisdiction.  It's clear that AB 975 is now on life support thanks to yet another series of last-minute amendments designed to save it from scrutiny and tough questions.

Multiple, unrelated amendments and legislative 'committee shopping' prove that AB 975 is not a genuine health care issue. It is a special-interest political attack against nonprofit hospitals without concern for the consequences to Californians.  That is why the California Hospital Association, SEIU-UHW, community groups, and health care providers from across the state have countered the attack with facts.

The recent amendments put California in direct conflict with federal guidelines of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  California's current law was the model for the ACA's community benefit and charity care guidelines, with state and federal laws now in close alignment. AB 975 breaks this bond with punitive and expensive mandates that no hospital can reasonably meet. Mistakes like those included in the fourth version of AB 975 severely compromise a nonprofit hospital's ability to expand services, meet the needs of its community and comply with the ACA.

At least four million Californians may be able to obtain health care coverage for the first time, meaning significant new demands for health care services.  Hospitals are facing the challenge of ensuring there are enough beds and services, and health care professionals, to meet this demand.  Now is not the time to play politics with California health care policy.  AB 975 is a solution desperately searching for a problem for which none exists.  It should be rejected.

SOURCE California Hospital Association