California continues to bolster its reputation as a state with progressive health policies as Gov. Gavin Newsom signed bills expanding paid sick leave, increasing bereavement leave for miscarriage and raising health worker pay.
Newsom supports a rare agreement between labor and the health industry to phase in a $25-an-hour minimum wage for health workers across the state, leading the nation. Estimates from an early version of the bill found that the bill would add billions of dollars in annual health care costs and put pressure on the state’s Medicaid program to increase reimbursement rates for long-term care to maintain patient access. . Other new laws aim to strengthen reproductive rights, as well as protect patients from wrong doctors and pharmacists and unexpected ambulance bills.
Still, the Democrat tempered the bill-signing season by vetoing free condoms in schools and possession of psychedelic mushrooms, potentially signaling his national ambitions and experience as a businessman and father.
He has refused to decriminalize such hallucinogens, although he supports their therapeutic potential as “an exciting frontier.” He urged lawmakers to try again next year, this time adding specific treatment guidelines, including recommended doses and protections for people with underlying mental illness. San Francisco state Sen. Scott Wiener, the bill’s lead author, introduced the proposal against the backdrop of successful decriminalization efforts in Colorado, Oregon and some cities, saying veterans and others People suffering from PTSD and depression should not be penalized for seeking help. comfort.
Newsom also lowered the price cap of $35 for a 30-day supply of insulin to support his own price-cutting efforts and touted a $50 million contract his administration would begin purchasing its own insulin as early as next year. He believes this approach would avoid indirect price increases for consumers, which could come in the form of higher premiums to pay for cheaper insulin.
The governor was equally cautious in vetoing health and safety protections for domestic workers, arguing that “private homes and households cannot be regulated in exactly the same way as traditional businesses.”
Unless otherwise stated, the new law will take effect in 2024:
Democratic Sen. Lena Gonzalez of Long Beach said that under SB 616, California workers would be entitled to five days of paid sick leave per year. That’s an increase from the three days California has required since 2014, but still less than the seven days Gonzalez originally requested. Advocates say workers shouldn’t come to work with illnesses that could spread the disease because they can’t afford to stay home. But the California Chamber of Commerce put the bill on its annual list of job killers and said it would hurt struggling small businesses.
Miscarriage and failed adoption leave
Under SB 848, parents who experience a miscarriage, stillbirth, failed adoption or breakdown of a surrogacy agreement are entitled to bereavement leave. The bill, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Susan Rubio of the San Gabriel Valley, includes unpaid leave. Under current law in the state, maternity loss leave allows for up to five days of bereavement after the death of a family member. Fake. She called reproductive loss “one of the most traumatic events a person can experience” and noted that Illinois and Utah enacted similar laws in 2022. The act applies to companies with 5 or more employees.
One year after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. WadeNewsom signed nine abortion-related laws that provide strong protections for the procedure passed by California lawmakers a year ago. These include SB 345, which adds protections for medical providers who live in California but mail abortion pills or sex-related drugs to states where it is illegal. The bill’s lead author, Democratic state Sen. Nancy Skinner of Berkeley, said in a statement that the laws strengthen California’s position “as a national leader in reproductive freedom.” Another bill, AB 1646, introduced by Rep. Stephanie Nguyen, D-Elk Grove, would allow doctors from other states to receive abortion training in California without obtaining a California medical license.
behavioral health funding
Voters will have a direct say in March on Newsom’s key behavioral health initiative, Proposition 1. After signing a bipartisan package of bills, Newsom will ask voters to approve billions of dollars in funding aimed at easing California’s seemingly hopeless homelessness crisis. He said it represents a paradigm shift in how California addresses this dilemma, but the proposal has faced opposition from those concerned about expanding involuntary treatment and diverting funds from existing community programs. He also signed SB 43, which expanded the state’s regulatory laws to make it easier to force people into treatment for mental illness or addiction.
medical licensing fee
The Medical Board of California will be required to follow new procedures when investigating complaints, and doctors will pay higher licensing fees to help fund those investigations. SB 815, introduced by Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, would mandate a new complaint process amid criticism of the board from patient advocates, who say bad doctors often get away with it. . It would gradually increase license renewal fees from the current $863 every two years to $1,255 every two years. It also repeals AB 2098, passed last year, which said it was unprofessional conduct for doctors to spread misinformation or disinformation related to covid-19. The law has been embroiled in multiple lawsuits with conflicting rulings, including one in which a federal judge called the law “unconstitutionally vague.”
According to the National Academy of Medicine, medication errors harm at least 1.5 million Americans each year and are one of the most common medical errors. In California, they are the violations that result in the most tickets. AB 1286, a bill introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Matt Haney of San Francisco, would mandate that retail pharmacies report all errors, which he said is a first in the nation. It also gives the responsible pharmacist at each store the authority to increase staffing, as well as the responsibility to notify store management of dangerous situations. If conditions don’t improve, the California Board of Pharmacy can close a dispensary.
Surprising ambulance bill
According to Health Access California, patients who call an ambulance sometimes receive “surprise bills” of up to $1,000. AB 716, a bill introduced by Rep. Tasha Boerner, D-Encinitas, would protect consumers from out-of-network charges for ambulance services and protect uninsured Californians from What she calls the impact of inflated ambulance rates. That would require health plans and insurers to pay more for out-of-network services, an analysis from the California Health Benefits Review Project said.
AB 1651, introduced by Rep. Kate Sanchez, a Republican from Rancho Santa Margarita, would require schools to have emergency epinephrine auto-injectors available for use by school nurses or trained volunteers to treat life-threatening allergies reaction. According to the Latino Food Allergy Network, which is seeking the bill, more than 15 percent of children with food allergies experience anaphylaxis in school.
By 2027, California will become the first U.S. state to ban four chemicals widely used in processed foods and beverages, following the European Union and other countries. AB 418, introduced by Democratic Assemblymen Jesse Gabriel and Buffy Wicks, initially made headlines because it would ban titanium dioxide used in making Skittles, but the chemical The substance has been removed from the bill. Opponents say the U.S. and California already have adequate food safety and food labeling requirements. Newsom and the bill’s supporters blame the FDA for failing to act.
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