Bill Seeks Transparency for Health Care Reforms

     (CN) – Two senators introduced a bipartisan bill in California that would allow public inspection of records from the agency that oversees the state’s health care reforms.
     Republican Sen. Bill Emmerson and Democratic Sen. Mark De Saulnier introduced the amended bill, SB 332, into the California Senate on May 16.
     Each state is required under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to establish an American Health Benefit Exchange by Jan. 1, 2014, that would make health plans available to qualified individuals and small employers.
     Law in California requires the disclosure of state and local agencies’ public records. However, existing law would exempt the board overseeing California’s health benefit exchange from disclosing certain records.
     The senators’ bill would make public the board and staff’s recommendations, meeting minutes, research and strategy, as well as records providing instructions, advice and training to employees.
     It would also “provide that the one year exemption from disclosure for contracts with participating carriers apply to those contracts entered into on or after the effective date of the bill. The bill would also require that the portion of the contract or amendment containing the rates of payment be open to inspection three years after a contract or amendment is open pursuant to these provisions,” according to bill’s text.
     It also provides the legislature’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee with the ability to inspect the contracts with participating carriers at any time.
     If passed, the bill would take effect immediately, “to ensure that public resources are managed efficiently and appropriately in the state’s efforts to facilitate the purchase of qualified health plans,” the text says.

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