Health plans would have to cover drug, alcohol abuse

The Associated Press
Tuesday June 05, 2001

SACRAMENTO — California health care plans would have to cover treatment for drug and alcohol abuse under a bill approved Monday by the state Senate. 

The measure, by Sen. Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata, was sent to the Assembly by a 23-14 vote, despite a complaint by one Republican that it would boost health care costs and result in fewer employers paying for coverage. 

“If our goal is to make sure that the only health care anybody gets is a government health care program, we are well on the road to accomplishing that,” said Sen. Ray Haynes, R-Temecula. 

“The people that this bill will hurt the most are people who need health care coverage the most, those on the lower end of our economic ladder.” 

But Sen. Jackie Speier, D-Daly City, said California has the lowest health care premiums in the country and that the Chesbro bill would cost less than $1 per health care plan enrollee per month. 

“If we’re ever going to get someone off drugs or alcohol, it is because of the intercession by a health care professional...,” she said.  

“It’s worth the expenditure.” 

Chesbro said studies show the requirement in his bill would be cost-effective.