Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

LSCOVEREDCA2.JPGWe're a little late on this one (call it summer recess-induced lethargy), but the State Auditor has produced a report assessing how the state is faring with Covered California, its insurance exchange mandated under the federal health-care overhaul.

California committed to building the exchange early, unlike Republican-controlled holdout states. It also had the largest uninsured population of any state as of 2011, so people are watching this carefully.

Financial stability is a big unknown, and the auditor's report punts on the issue, saying it's impossible to know whether the state's exchange will be solvent until it's up and running. The key variable, of course, is whether uninsured Californians actually enroll -- something officials have acknowledged in committing "a significant amount of its federal funds" for outreach, the report concludes.

The report also gives Covered California a passing grade for spending oversight, including putting in place conflict-of-interest disclosure requirements and pursuing independent audits of how it uses federal money. Despite a statutory ability to keep contracts secret, the exchange has released details on contracting and has followed rules of basic competitiveness on the contracts it has handed out, the auditor's office found. The report, however, dings it for moving slowly on hiring staff for new support centers.

VIDEO: Constant turnover in the Legislature has produced a few upcoming elections that Dan Walters is watching with interest.

TEACHER TRAINING: Local chapter presidents of the California Association of Teachers are gathering at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose today for the start of a four-day training conference. (The CTA, on a related note, registers in our newly updated lobbying database as having spent the third-most of any group in 2011-2012, although spending $771,000 less than in the previous session).

REEVALUATING REALIGNMENT: The Board of State and Community Corrections is meeting at the Resources Building today, where members will be considering a partnership with the Public Policy Institute of California that would gauge how counties, newly tasked with realignment-related responsibilities, track offenders.

PHOTO: Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee addresses the media in Sacramento as the California's health exchange announced its premiums under the new federal health care program on May 23, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Lezlie Sterling.



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