|May 15, 2017
Legislative Highlights of the Week
Health & Human Service
The HHS Committee has been working very hard toward its goal of reporting out all the bills assigned to it as soon as possible. The balance is tipping toward fewer public hearings and more work sessions as the time winds down. Last week saw public hearings on a few bills. LD 1556, which would require all mandatory reporters of child abuse to report suspicion of drug use by pregnant women, saw significant opposition from several groups including the MMA. There is real concern that such women will avoid prenatal care rather than run the risk of being reported to DHHS. There were also hearings on two bills, LD 1112 and 1496, related to the Maternal and Infant Death Review Panel. That panel has not met in many months, and there is a feeling among at least some members that there are significant barriers to their work.
Work sessions were held on many bills dealing with mental health and opioids, MaineCare benefits, and persons with disabilities. The Committee carried over a bill, LD 1189, dealing with consent to treatment of minors, and it voted 10 - 0 "ought not to pass" on a bill that would have made ephedrine and pseudoephedrine prescription drugs, rather than "behind the counter" as they are now.Education
The Education & Cultural Affairs Committee held work sessions on two gun bills this week. LD 988, which would have allowed firearms in cars when students are being dropped off at school, was voted "ought not to pass" 9 - 4. The "campus carry" bill, which would have allowed the unpermitted carrying of concealed weapons on college campuses, was the subject of an 11 - 2 "ought not to pass" vote. The Committee is taking good steps for the safety of Maine's children and college students.
Insurance & Financial Services
The IFS Committee was busy last week trying to finish up its public hearings and work sessions and a number of the bills remaining on their agenda raise complex issues. The Committee voted unanimously in favor of a bill (L.D. 1385) regarding direct primary care (DPC) practice and also on a bill (LD 1274) to conduct a comprehensive study of health care reform in Maine. LD 1274 initially proposed a single payer approach to health care reform in Maine. The Committee this week will continue work sessions on two other complex bills, LD 445 addressing the concept of rewarding patients with a financial credit towards their health insurance costs for "shopping" for certain health care services, and LD 1557 addressing "surprise bills" faced by patients who have received services from an out-of-network physician in an in-network hospital.
The legislature's committees are under tremendous pressure to complete their work so that the necessary processing of paperwork and debate of divided committee reports can take place in the House and Senate before the June 21st scheduled adjournment date.< Previous Article | Next Article >
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