Legislative News … Daniel Nnorth and Claudia Schott

It looks as if President Trump wants to revamp or overthrow Obamacare again. He mentioned mid-June that he would unveil a new healthcare plan this month that would be “something terrific”. According to Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), “The American people already know exactly what the President’s health care plans mean in their lives: higher costs, worse coverage and the end of lifesaving protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) mentioned that “we’re looking forward to seeing what he’s going to recommend.” We’re thinking a wait-and-see attitude is best……

On the State front: Since AB 824 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee sometime in early July, Chapter members should contact Senator Bill Monning the first week in July at the earliest and let him know what we want. AB 824 is a model bill and California is leading the nation to stop pay-to- delay practices that enable brand-name drug companies to maintain high prices by delaying the sale of lower-cost generics. Americans pay the highest drug prices in the world. In 2006, the annual cost of brand name drugs was $1,868; in 2017, it went up to $6,798 (an increase of over 360%). Drug prices continue to skyrocket while seniors struggle to afford Medicare and more than 2/3 of seniors have two or more concurrent chronic illnesses. The average beneficiary has a medium annual income of just $26,000; many older Californians must choose between prescriptions and buying groceries. Please ask our Senators to vote YES on AB 824.

AB 1366 – Please contact Senator Beall or Monning and ask them to OPPOSE this harmful bill. Internet companies that provide Voice-Over-Internet telephone service should be required to offer the SAME consumer protections that traditional landline telephone services must offer. VOIP companies are trying to AVOID oversight by the California Public Utilities Commission. That means that millions of Californians, many of them over 50, would have unregulated phone and internet service, which means higher rates for the people who can least afford it. Ask our Senators to please vote NO on AB 1366.

Please contact your state Assembly member (Pan, Kaira) to ask for their support of SB 512 (Long-Term Supports & Services). If you live in Assembly member Kalra’s district, call him to thank him for his leadership on this issue. AARP is a member of the California Aging & Disability Alliance, which is sponsoring SB 512. Research has shown that LTSS costs more than most Californians can afford. This bill will address this issue. Toward that end, AARP is hoping we can share a personal caregiving story – time, expenses, sacrifices, etc., with the Assembly members in hopes of garnering their support for this bill.