Capitol Alert

AM Alert: What can California learn from Massachusetts’ health care overhaul?

Peter Lee, second from left, the executive director of Covered California, poses with enrollees in the state-run health insurance exchange in front of Los Angeles City Hall on Nov. 14, 2014.
Peter Lee, second from left, the executive director of Covered California, poses with enrollees in the state-run health insurance exchange in front of Los Angeles City Hall on Nov. 14, 2014. The New York Times

California recently extended its second open enrollment for the state health insurance exchange until the end of April, to accommodate taxpayers who may not have realized that penalties for the uninsured kick in for this first time this year under the federal health care law. Already half a million uninsured Californians have signed up for coverage through the exchange this year. But what comes next?

Perhaps California can learn from the experience of Massachusetts, which passed its own health care overhaul in 2006, before the Affordable Care Act was even a gleam in President Barack Obama’s eye. State officials, including the executive director of Massachusetts’ public employee and retiree health insurance agency and its health care cost oversight agency, will offer lessons for California as it continues to implement its own new system, 9 a.m. at the UC Center Sacramento on K Street.

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DRINK UP: Assembly members Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton, and Brian Jones, R-Santee, have introduced a bill to repeal a “prohibition” on the sale of distilled spirits at craft distilleries, allowing for the purchase of up to three bottles per person at a licensed tasting. Jones will be at Twisted Manzanita Ales & Spirits in Santee at 11:30 a.m. to announce the legislation.

OFF TO GREAT PLACES: State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson will visit third graders at Northridge Elementary School in Fair Oaks at 8:30 a.m. to read Oh, the Places You’ll Go for Read Across America Day, an initiative of the National Education Association honoring Dr. Seuss’ birthday and promoting a love of reading. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom participated in a similar event earlier this week.

WHO’S NEXT?: Sacramento State President Alexander Gonzalez plans to step down at the end of this school year and the California State University Board of Trustees is in the process of looking for a replacement. The selection committee will meet today to consider candidates at the Hilton San Francisco Airport Bayfront hotel in Burlingame.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, who turns 42 today. Early well wishes to a slew of weekend celebrants: Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, will be 34 and Rep. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, will be 54 on Saturday. Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, turns 74 on Sunday.

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

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