Assembly OKs Curb on Health Insurance Rates

The state Assembly passed one of the year’s most controversial and intensively lobbied bills Thursday – imposing rate regulation on health insurers – after Republicans walked out of the chamber in protest. GOP members wanted to call a caucus to discuss the measure, Assembly Bill 52 by Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, but Speaker John A. Pérez refused to call a recess. Democrats then defeated a recess motion, with leaders saying Republicans were trying to stall long enough to kill the bill because of today’s deadline for action. The GOP retreated to the Rules Committee room off the chamber and closed the door.  Without Republicans on the floor, the remaining Democrats conducted a brief debate. Feuer argued that rate regulation by the insurance commissioner is needed because “health insurance rates are skyrocketing.” Several Democrats were critical of the bill, but just one, Sacramento’s Richard Pan, a physician, voted against it as the measure was sent to the Senate on a 42-1 vote.

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