Wednesday, May 29, 2013

ALERT re AB 889 (Frazier)                                                              

AB 889 has just passed the Assembly Floor vote victoriously. The next procedural stop for this bill is the state senate. This bill is unique in that it'll remove stepwise medication requirements for patients generally but will still leave room for the insurance companies to  impose stepwise prescribing for injured workers pursuant to SB 863. In other words, it will give benefits to patients who are privately insured or who are dependent upon HMOs, PPOs, and managed care that will not be made available to injured workers who will still be subject to stepwise prescribing by dint of SB 863 since they will remain subject to the whims of MPNs (Medical Provider Networks) empowered to make their own decisions and whose power under the law has been increased by last year's passage of SB 863. If AB 889 makes it through the Senate, it'll still be subject to Gubernatorial veto -- the Governor vetoed similar legislation  last year. Proponents of AB 889 need to start now to work the state senate and also the Governor's office. Some legislators who favor AB 889 are the same legislators who voted for SB 863 -- their votes now for AB 889 may be an act of contrition or a call of conscience. Either way it's a good start. Now we need the state senate  to come on board and for the legislature to convince Gov. Brown not to veto the bill if it passes the legislature.

Proponents of this legislation are currently reported to include groups as diverse as the California Medical Association, the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. We expect that Assemblyman Frazier's website will reflect a larger list.

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