Legislative News … Daniel Nnorth and Claudia Schott

The California Legislature is in session, and AARP is still backing the following bills.  (Let your Representatives and Senators know you want them to back them, too.)

AB 458 – CA Affordable Drug Importation Act – Directs the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to develop and implement a prescription drug wholesale importation program to allow for the importation of safe, affordable drugs from Canada.

Allows for the expansion of the Canadian drug importation program to include prescription drug suppliers from other major nations upon the enactment of federal legislation authorizing such practice.  Many of the manufacturers producing these drugs have already been approved by the FDA to sell pharmaceuticals on the U.S. market; and currently, at least 40% of the prescription drugs used in the U.S. are manufactured abroad.

DHHS will establish eligibility criteria for the types of drugs that may be imported.  Eligible drugs are those that will result in the greatest cost savings, such as expensive specialty and rare-disease drugs.

In addition to lowering costs, this bill protects patients who are currently forced to mail-order unregulated drugs by making sure that imported drugs are safe and effective.  Safety standards regulated by Health Canada and the European Union are as tough as FDA standards.

AB 911 / SB 515 – Long-Term Services & Support – Creates the framework & governance structure for a future Long-Term Services and Support (LTSS) benefit.  Established the California LTSS Board. 

Requires the LTSS Board to manage and invest revenue deposited in the California Long-Term Services & Supports Benefits Trust Fund.  Would, upon appropriation, finance long-term services and support for eligible individuals.

AB 84 – Emergency Paid Sick Leave – Extends paid sick leave up to 80 hours for most California employees who do not receive PSL through their job for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.  They must work for an employer with 25 or more employees for this to apply.

Allows individuals to take Paid Sick Leave to care for someone diagnosed with COVID-19.  Allows individuals to take Paid Sick Leave to care for a loved one whose place of care, such as adult day care, is closed due to COVID-19.

SB 650 – Nursing Home Reform: Financial Transparency – Requires an organization that operates, conducts, owns, manages, or maintains a skilled nursing facility, or facilities, to prepare and file an annual consolidated financial report. The report must include data from all operating entities, license holders, and related parties in which the organization has an ownership or control interest of 5% or more and that provides any service, facility, or supply to the skilled nursing facility.

Requires management companies and property companies that are not related by ownership or control to one of organizations, but that contract with or have entered into leases with one of those organizations, to file an annual consolidated financial report.  The bill would require the office to post those reports and related documents to its internet website.