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Health care concept art several contentious health bills stalled in the legislature and never made it to Newsom’s desk, including a measure that would have given the state attorney general more authority to reject hospital consolidations.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Though COVID-19 forced California leaders to scale back their ambitious health care agenda, they still managed to enact significant new laws intended to lower consumer health care spending and expand access to health coverage.

When Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom concluded the chaotic legislative year Wednesday — his deadline to sign or veto bills — what emerged wasn’t the sweeping platform he and state lawmakers had outlined at the beginning of the year. But the dozens of health care measures they approved included first-in-the-nation policies to require more comprehensive coverage of mental health and addiction, and thrusting the state into the generic drug-making business.

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