As the U.S. Senate inches closer to a vote on the Democratic health care reform bill, a consumer advocate warns that the measure could lead to less coverage for Californians.
In California, if you want an HIV test, state law requires your insurance company to cover the cost.
Jamie Court, president of the nonprofit Consumer Watchdog, says that could change under the Senate version of the health care reform bill.
"California has some of the strongest patient protection laws in the nation for providing certain types of coverage," he says, "be it mammograms, or second opinions or certain types of benefits for policies for cancer care."
Court says the Senate plan, if adopted, could preempt California law. "Insurance companies can go to states that have weaker protections," he says, "and sell those policies in California."
He says the House bill offers stronger protections for California consumers.
The House and Senate will negotiate differences between their versions of the bills in a conference committee – if and when the Senate finds enough votes to pass health care reform.