Maine Medicine Weekly Update - 02/19/2020 (Plain Text Version)
In this issue:
State House Highlights of the Week
On February 11, Legislative Democrats led by Senate President Troy Jackson and Speaker Sara Gideon released their Patients First health reform package of four bills.
On February 11, Legislative Democrats led by Senate President Troy Jackson and Speaker Sara Gideon released their Patients First health reform package of four bills. Taking advantage of the recently relaxed public hearing notice guidelines, the bills have been scheduled for public hearings next Tuesday, February 25, at 1:00 pm before the Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services. Combined, the bills attempt to address pricing transparency, out-of-network billing, surprise medical bills, facility fees, new patient fees, Medicare observation and/or inpatient status, insulin costs, etc. One of the bills (LD 2110, An Act To Lower Health Care Costs) also establishes the Maine Commission on Affordable Health Care. The Commission would have a very broad and influential charge on reigning in health care costs and spending, including for prescription drugs. The following bills will be up for public hearing:
LD 2096—An Act To Save Lives by Capping the Out-of-pocket Cost of Certain Medications (Speaker Sara Gideon: This bill provides that a health insurance carrier that provides coverage for prescription insulin drugs may not impose a cost-sharing requirement on the enrollee that results in out-of-pocket costs to the enrollee in excess of $100 per 30-day supply of insulin.
LD 2105—An Act To Protect Consumers from Surprise Emergency Medical Bills (Speaker Sara Gideon)
LD 2110—An An Act To Lower Health Care Costs (President Troy Jackson)
LD 2111—An Act To Establish Patient Protections in Billing for Health Care (Senator Ned Claxton, MD)
As always, thank you to all the physicians who provide valuable feedback on policy issues of concern and additional thanks to those who provide written and/or oral testimony on important bills. You make the MMA what it is.
Last Thursday, Committee on Health and Human Services passed an amended version of LD 1937, An Act To Provide Timely Access to Behavioral Health Services for Maine Children and To Address Trauma and the Impacts of the Opioid Crisis. Deb Hagler, M.D., provided written testimony in support of the bill on behalf of the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
LD 1096, An Act To Require That Comprehensive Substance Use Disorder Treatment Be Made Available to Maine's Incarcerated Population, was tabled for the second time today by the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety. Peter Michaud had provided testimony in support from MMA in 2019.
Friday, Feb. 7 was the deadline for Legislative Committees to vote on at least 60% of bills assigned to the Committee. All bills must be voted out of their assigned committees by Friday, March 6, which is less than three weeks away. As a result of the time crunch, legislative leaders have relaxed the rules on publication of hearing notices from a minimum of two weeks to just one week. The Supplemental Budget and bills on the Special Appropriations Table are not subject to these cutoff deadlines.