Brown Vetoes Bill To Create Marketplace for Vision Insurance

Brown Vetoes Bill To Create Marketplace for Vision Insurance
Monday, September 29, 2014

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has vetoed a bill (AB 1877) that would have established a statewide marketplace for vision insurance that would be separate from but linked to Covered California, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
Covered California is the state’s health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 9/26).
Details of Bill
AB 1877, by Assembly member Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova), called for the state to create a vision care access council that would have contracted with insurers to provide stand-alone coverage for vision care. The council and its processes would have been modeled after the state’s health insurance exchange and would have sought to establish links to Covered California.
The bill called for funding for the new exchange to come from vision insurers, not the state (California Healthline, 8/4).
Details of Veto
In a veto message, Brown said the bill would have created a “new state bureaucracy” and questioned whether creating a separate marketplace for vision coverage would have been allowed under federal law.
Brown added that it is not “advisable to divert Covered California’s focus with a new scheme,” noting that the bill would “require Covered California’s board to run the [vision] council’s operations and use the board’s staff and resources to conduct the activities of the council” (Brown veto message, 9/25).
Reaction From Vision Insurer
Rob Lynch — president and CEO of VSP Global, a provider of stand-alone vision coverage — said that VSP Global was “surprised and shocked” by Brown’s veto of AB 1877 (Kasler, Sacramento Bee, 9/28). VSP and other insurers had agreed to pay $250,000 to launch the marketplace for vision insurance, as well as millions of dollars in start-up costs (Sacramento Business Journal, 9/26).
Lynch noted that the state Senate and Assembly had passed the bill unanimously (Sacramento Bee, 9/28).