Orange County supervisors Tuesday voted to appoint all the board members to the commission overseeing the health insurance program for the needy in the county.
The CalOptima board now includes one supervisor and a backup supervisor. The supervisors voted to have the entire county board on the CalOptima panel, bringing it to a dozen members.
The makeup would reflect the board overseeing the Orange County Transportation Authority board of which all of the supervisors serve on.
The move came as lawmakers in Sacramento are considering legislation introduced in December that would cement the current makeup and appointment and removal process of the CalOptima board.
The issue of who oversees the agency that provides health care for the needy has generated criticism in recent years when former supervisor and now state Sen. Janet Nguyen, R-Fountain Valley, sought to remove stakeholders and replace them with health care providers.
Supervisor Andrew Do has proposed removing some members who represent healthcare providers with other members of the health care provider field at Tuesday’s board meeting, but quickly backed off when other supervisors balked.
Supervisor Shawn Nelson said it made more sense to just expand the board with three more supervisors so it would be handled much the same way as the OCTA board.
Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, who is representing the board on the CalOptima panel, was in Sacramento Tuesday lobbying against the state Senate bill.
“When you have something this significant, like OCTA, it would make sense from a good government perspective,” to have all the supervisors on the CalOptima board, Nelson said.
“We should be responsible for delivering a product in concert with CalOptima.”
Do criticized state lawmakers for taking a hand in the governing of CalOptima.
“It’s another example of over-reaching by Sacramento to go into local government,” Do told City News Service “We have seen legislation with Metrolink, with AQMD, with the OCFA, where they try to control how local agencies are run.
“I agree with Supervisor Nelson’s comment that any time a state legislator disagrees with a vote at the local level they feel like the solution to that disagreement is to overreach, to make everything legislated by Sacramento.”
The ordinance will come up for a second vote of supervisors at a future meeting. The state legislation, however, may make the point moot.
–City News Service
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