- Associated Press - Monday, February 29, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The Latest on the a package of bills affecting the state’s health insurance plans (all times local):

4:50 p.m.

State lawmakers have unanimously approved a plan to send $300 million to California’s developmental disabilities system.

The Senate and Assembly included the funding in an agreement to restructure taxes on health insurance plans.

The package passed both houses on Monday.

Most of the $300 million will go to care providers, who have faced years of stagnant wages.

The bill also creates a program to provide paid internships for people with developmental disabilities. Interns could make up to $10,400 per year, with up to a third of it reimbursed by the state.

The legislation now goes before Gov. Jerry Brown.

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2:45 p.m.

California lawmakers have approved legislation to restructure taxes on health insurance plans and boost funding for developmental disability services.

The three-bill package passed the Assembly and Senate on Monday after a handful of Republicans joined Democrats in support.

The plan prevents a $1.1 billion hole in the budget for Medi-Cal, the state’s health program for the poor.

Monday’s approval is a victory for Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown. He called a special session last year to work on health care financing and spent months negotiating a package that could win a two-thirds supermajority.

The package includes more than $300 million for services for people with developmental disabilities. Payments to care providers will increase under the plan.

Republicans split over the tax measure, although they unanimously approved two related bills.

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12:10 a.m.

California lawmakers are considering a tax package that would appease federal health insurance regulators and close a $1.1 billion budget gap.

Both chambers of the California Legislature are expected to vote Monday on bills that would adjust taxes on health insurance plans.

The state needs to extend its current tax on health insurance companies in Medi-Cal, California’s health insurance program for the poor, or risk losing federal contributions to the program.

To prevent providers from passing the price hike to consumers, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown agreed to eliminate other taxes paid by insurers.

The tax package being taken up Monday also includes hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives for reluctant lawmakers who opposed the tax extension. Their votes are needed to reach a two-thirds majority required to approve taxes.


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