Calif. lawmakers moving on health insurance rules

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers have taken their first step toward passing new consumer protections under the federal health care overhaul, such as guaranteeing coverage even with pre-existing conditions.

Both houses of the Legislature passed bills Thursday dealing with individual insurance regulations that would prevent insurers from discriminating and overcharging customers. The bills also seek to ensure quality health coverage.

The bills now switch houses while lawmakers work out the details with Gov. Jerry Brown.

The bills by Democratic Assemblyman Richard Pan of Sacramento and Sen. Ed Hernandez of Baldwin Park essentially add the Affordable Care Act into California law so state agencies have the power to enforce and regulate new rules.

Republicans opposed the bills, saying more restrictions will drive up health insurance costs rather than make it more affordable.

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