Round One goes to Sen. Gaines.
Sen. Ted Gaines won the first round in his lawsuit challenging Covered California’s decision to force the cancellations of more than one million Californians healthcare policies. On August 26, 2014, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant denied Covered California’s attempt to transfer the case from Los Angeles to Sacramento. The Court rejected Covered Californian’s motion to change venue on several grounds and authorized the Plaintiffs to begin pre-trial discovery into Covered California’s expenditures.
In what some termed “the lawsuit he couldn’t win,” Sen. Gaines has performed above expectation in his efforts to protect Californians. Only after the Senator filed suit did the Legislature agree to a Joint Legislative Audit Committee to review Covered Californian’s practices and SB 1446 was introduced and passed to protect small employers from future cancellations. Although SB 1446 marks a positive step forward it doesn’t cover the universe of past or potential future cancellations, making the lawsuit not just a galvanizing force for change, but still necessary.
The majority of Covered California signups were from LA County, and the impact of cancellations was largest felt in the state’s largest county. Covered California’s cynical attempt to seek a perceived more favorable forum in Sacramento was resoundingly rejected by the Court. Stay tuned for future developments….
* McClelland Advocacy is a Sacramento-based law firm with expertise in healthcare litigation and corporate disputes, and in public policy and Constitutional litigation and challenges to state and local government actions.