By Jessica Swartz, Cami Pendell, and Susan Patton*
October 9, 2009
Public Employee Healthcare Insurance Pool Legislation and Committee Hearings
The Michigan House of Representatives continues to work on a proposal that would create a public employee healthcare insurance pool. Since it was first reported in the Healthcare Reform Task Force's July 21, 2009, email alert, Speaker of the House Andy Dillion (D) created the Public Employee Health Care Reform Committee to specifically address this initiative. The committee is a thirteen-member body made up of nine Democrats and four Republicans and is chaired by Speaker Pro Tempore Pam Byrnes (D). Additionally, Speaker Dillon introduced House Bill 5345, which put his proposal into official legislative form. A new white paper has also been released that further outlines the concept and provides more detail on how the savings of the pool were determined. At this time, Dillon is also dedicating www.newideasformichigan.com to this issue. He is posting news articles, committee papers, presentations, legislation, and soliciting comments through that portal.
Changes to Controlled Substance Statutes
Under House Bill 4161 (H-1), the prohibition against dispensing prescriptions for controlled substances written by a physician located outside of Michigan will be eliminated. Currently, a practitioner can only dispense controlled substances in Michigan if the prescription was issued by a physician who resides: in the state, adjacent to the land border between Michigan and an adjoining state, or in Illinois or Minnesota. House Bill 4161 (H-1) was passed by the House of Representatives. The bill has also been reported out of the Senate Health Policy Committee and is awaiting a full Senate vote.
The Senate passed Senate Bill 689, which will permit practitioners to issue multiple prescriptions for up to a ninety-day supply of Schedule 2 controlled substances in accordance with federal regulation. Existing Michigan statue only permits one prescription for a controlled substance on a prescription form for a maximum sixty-day supply of the drug. Similar legislation passed the Senate during the last legislative cycle but was not addressed in the House of Representatives before Sine Die.
Individual Market Reform
During the 2007-2008 legislative cycle, considerable debate took place regarding reforming Michigan's individual healthcare insurance market. The issue was carried forward into this year but no specific legislation has been introduced. The Senate Health Policy chairman has held workgroups meetings throughout the state to receive input on how to best reform the individual marketplace. The chair of the House Health Policy Committee has also been holding workgroup meetings in Lansing to gather perspectives on the issue. In conjunction with these meetings, the chairmen have been holding ongoing conversations in an effort to reach an agreement in order to draft legislation based upon their agreement. The chair of the House Health Policy Committee recently announced that he would like to move forward on the issue in October. While that does not necessarily mean an agreement has been reached, it does indicate that the time to impact the development of this legislation is winding down, and interested parties should submit their thoughts and concerns to the committee chairs before legislation is introduced. Once an agreement is reached, it is likely any resulting legislation will move rather quickly through the legislative process.
*We wish to thank Jessica Swartz, Esquire (Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC), Susan Patton, Esquire (Butzel Long PC, Ann Arbor, MI), and Cami M. Pendell, JD (BL Government Affairs LLC, Lansing, MI), for providing this email alert.