Appropriations Committee Amends AB 650; Makes a Dangerous Bill Even Worse
By adding additional public and safety net providers, legislation now costs well over $7 billion to health care consumers and systems – crushing access to vital health care services
For Immediate Release
May 20, 2021
Contact: Molly Weedn
Sacramento – Today, the Assembly Appropriations Committee passed Assembly Bill 650 with substantial new amendments that expands the bill to include public health care and safety net providers. These amendments put the price tag of this measure well over $7 billion and likely more.
Valerie Lakey, Executive Director of Community Relations for Mayers Memorial Hospital District in Shasta County, representing the broad coalition of community clinics, hospitals, physicians and others opposed to AB 650, issued the following statement in response:
“California’s hospitals, clinics, physician offices, skilled nursing facilities and other providers agree that health care workers are essential, and have provided significant resources, rewards and support for these heroes.
But AB 650 is a massive, unfunded $7 billion increase on health care consumers and on our health care system at a time when many health care providers are struggling due to the strain of the pandemic.
As a critical access hospital, Mayers Memorial Hospital District provides care to the neediest and most vulnerable patients in our region. Our services are vital given we serve a geographic area of 8,000 square miles and the nearest hospital is 75 miles away.
These enormous, unfunded costs imposed by AB 650 would likely leave us with no other option than to cut or eliminate services such as hospice care, cardiac rehabilitation services, and outpatient respiratory therapy.
Our story is just like those of too many other providers throughout our state including clinics, hospitals and providers who will be left with no choice but to cut vital health care services in response to this legislation. The financial impact to our small rural facility is over $1.6 million.
We will continue to work with lawmakers to urge rejection of this dangerous and costly bill.”
Opponents of AB 650 include community clinics, hospitals, physicians, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living providers, senior advocates, business leaders and others who warn the measure is arbitrary, inequitable, and costly. AB 650 mandates extra pay bonuses to workers at private hospitals, district hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, surgery centers and other providers but arbitrarily excludes tens of thousands of workers at county and other public hospitals, county clinics, as well as smaller hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices and health care providers with fewer than 100 employees.