Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Surprise billing legislation awakens from coma

A doctor removes potentially cancerous skin cells from a patient during in Cincinnati, Jan. 13, 2014.
A doctor removes potentially cancerous skin cells from a patient during in Cincinnati, Jan. 13, 2014. NYT

Lawmakers are back in their districts or circling the globe for spring recess, which means a quiet week in the Capitol.

But health advocates are toiling away at resurrecting stalled legislation seeking to limit surprise bills for out-of-network medical care, holding a conference call today to broadcast stories of wallet-walloping costs in an effort to revive Assembly Bill 533. They’ll be trumpeting the California Labor Federation coming on as a key sponsor.

The legislation flat-lined at the end of last year’s session, capping an interest group melee pitting doctors against health plans and unions. The larger issue remains very much on peoples’ minds, though, and the bill falling just three votes short – with a substantial bulk of members holding off – has backers hoping they still have a shot. It could be one to watch as the session unfolds.

TAKING ACCREDIT: As the fight for City College of San Francisco illustrates, plenty of folks in the California higher education world have become weary of the accrediting organization that sanctions schools. With momentum building to supplant the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, the California Community Colleges board of governors is set to vote on a resolution to transition away from the accreditor and find a new one. The move has drawn praise from the California Federation of Teachers, the union representing many California community college educators.

INTERESTING: While lawmakers recess, the California Fair Political Practices Commission hums along on J street. The political money watchdog will be discussing regulations to streamline the approval process for conflict-of-interest policies. Starting at 10 a.m. at 428 J Street.

PLUMBING: It’s been nearly half a century since folks decided how to divvy up the cost of operating the Central Valley Project, which constitutes (along with the State Water Project) a major component of California’s water system. The federal Bureau of Reclamation will host a Sacramento meeting today as part of a year-long look at spreading the cost among 250 long-term contractors like municipalities, irrigators and power generators. Starting at 10 a.m. at 2800 Cottage Way.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert