CAFP Positions on Legislation
Governor Signs CAFP’s Bill Limiting Drug Costs!
As one of his final legislative actions as Governor of California, Jerry Brown signed CAFP co-sponsored legislation, AB 315 (Wood, Dahle, Nazarian and Stone), which will regulate pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and protect patients from unfair drug pricing. The new law will require PBMs to register with the state and notify purchasers of any conflicts of interest in their practices. In addition, the law will bar PBMs and health plans from prohibiting providers from informing patients of a less costly alternative to a prescribed medication. It also requires pharmacies to inform customers whether the retail price of a prescription drug is lower than the applicable cost-sharing amount for that drug.
Governor Signs 18 CAFP-Supported Bills in 2018
In addition to signing CAFP’s sponsored bill to regulate pharmacy benefit managers, AB 315, Governor Brown signed 17 other CAFP-supported bills this year:
- AB 2086 (Gallagher) – allows prescribers to generate a list of patients for whom they are linked to as a “prescriber” in the CURES database.
- AB 2202 (Gray) – creates an endowment fund to launch a University of California, San Francisco medical school in the San Joaquin Valley.
- AB 2256 (Santiago) – authorizes a pharmacy, wholesaler, or manufacturer to furnish naloxone or other opioid antagonists to a law enforcement agency.
- AB 2289 (Weber) – creates flexibility for pregnant or parenting pupils, including excused absences from school to care for a sick child.
- AB 2311 (Arambula) – indefinitely extends a successful pilot project at the David Geffen School of Medicine of the University of California at Los Angeles which allows international medical graduates to participate in a pre-residency training program. The program specifically targets Spanish-speaking international graduates who commit to practicing medicine in medically underserved communities in California upon licensure where bilingual and bicultural skills are needed.
- AB 2472 (Wood) – requires the state to prepare an analysis and evaluation to determine the feasibility of creating a public health insurance plan option to increase competition and choice for health care consumers.
- AB 2487 (McCarty) – allows a physician to complete a one-time continuing education course on opiate-dependent patient treatment and management as an alternative to the mandatory continuing education course on pain management and the treatment of terminally ill and dying patients.
- AB 2499 (Arambula) – ensures that the current federal law requiring health plans to spend at least 85 percent of premium dollars on actual medical care and quality improvement activities does not change in California if the federal government weakens that provision.
- AB 2526 (Rubio) – improves and expedites the process by which a temporary emergency gun violence restraining orders is granted.
- AB 2674 (Aguiar-Curry) – requires the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) to annually review health care provider complaints about health plans and, if the data indicates a possible unfair payment pattern, the department may conduct an audit or an enforcement action.
- AB 2785 (Rubio) – requires public colleges and universities in California to provide reasonable accommodations to lactating students and address other needs related to breast-feeding.
- AB 2861 (Salas) – requires Medi-Cal to pay for substance use counseling services provided through telehealth when medically necessary (to the extent federal financial participation and approval is obtained).
- AB 2863 (Nazarian) – limits the amount a health plan may require a patient to pay at the point of sale for a covered prescription to the lesser of the applicable cost-sharing amount or the retail price; prohibits a plan from requiring a pharmacy to charge a cost-sharing amount that exceeds the total retail price for the drug; and requires the payment to count toward any applicable cost sharing.
- SB 910 (Hernandez) – prohibits a health insurer from selling or renewing a short-term limited duration health insurance policy (sometimes referred to as “junk insurance”) after January 1, 2019.
- SB 972 (Portantino) – requires schools and universities serving any grade higher than seventh grade to issue pupil identification cards that include a telephone number for a suicide prevention hotline and/or Crisis Text Line.
- SB 1021 (Wiener) – requires health plans to cover medically necessary drug treatments for the prevention of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)/Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
- SB 1108 (Hernandez) – prohibits the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) from requiring Medi-Cal beneficiaries to receive medical assistance as a condition of receiving nonmedical benefits (e.g., employment or housing assistance).