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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Established in 2002 to implement the provisions of Assembly Bill 1996 (California Health and Safety Code Section 127660 et seq.), the California Health Benefits Review Program (CHBRP) responds to requests from the State Legislature to provide independent analysis of the medical, financial, and public health impacts of proposed health insurance benefit mandates. A small analytic staff in the University of California's Office of the President works with a task force of faculty from several campuses of the University of California, Loma Linda University, University of Southern California, and Stanford University as well as actuarial consultants to complete each analysis during a 60-day period, usually before the Legislature begins formal consideration of a mandate bill. A strict conflict of interest policy ensures that the analyses are undertaken without financial or other interests that could bias the results. A National Advisory Council, made up of experts from outside the state of California and designed to provide balanced representation among groups with an interest in health insurance benefit mandates, reviews draft studies to assure their quality before they are transmitted to the Legislature. Each report summarizes sound scientific evidence relevant to the proposed mandate but does not make recommendations, deferring policy decision-making to the Legislature. The State funds this work though a small annual assessment of health plans and insurers in California.