Michigan House approves healthcare reform

By | March 26, 2021

The Michigan House has passed bipartisan, far-reaching bills it claims will lower health care costs.

Some of those bills are opposed by business and health care groups.

“This comes down to one simple, but basic fact: Life-saving prescriptions are worthless if people can’t afford them,” Rep. Julie Calley, R-Portland, said in a statement. “This plan will increase prescription drug access and affordability. It will increase transparency and accountability, and restrict the nefarious ways middlemen profit at the expense of the people in our communities.”

Business groups scheduled a Thursday 1 p.m. press conference opposing House Bills 4346 and 4354, saying they would “mandate coverages and add unnecessary new regulations to insurers, raising health insurance premiums that are already a heavy burden for small businesses.”

HB 4346 would require an insurer that delivers, schedules or renews a health insurance policy covering prescription insulin drugs to cap the total cost at $ 50 for each 30-day supply.

HB 4356 would allow eye examinations and evaluations to be conducted through telemedicine if the standard of care is the same as an in-person evaluation and if the patient has had an in-person examination within the preceding five years.

HB 4351 and HB 4353 would prohibit certain prescription price nondisclosure contracts and make other pharmacy-related changes concerning drug pricing.

HB 4347 would create the Drug Manufacturer Data Reporting Act to require drug manufacturers to disclose specific cost and pricing information to the Department of Insurance and Financial Services annually.

HB 4353 would require a health insurance policy delivered, scheduled, or renewed in Michigan that provides coverage for prescription drugs must apply any amount paid by the insured when calculating the insured person’s overall contribution to any out-of-pocket maximum or any cost-sharing requirement.

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Laurie Pohutsky, D-Livonia, supported the bill.

“Countless Michiganders, even those with health insurance, find medical care and prescription drugs out of reach due to excessive, out-of-pocket costs,” Pohutsky said in a floor speech. “Anything we can do to ease this burden is not only the right thing to do, it is our moral and professional obligation as servants of the people of Michigan.”

HB 4345 would require insurers to give insured individuals credit for cost savings when they purchase certain less expensive drugs from an out-of-network pharmacy.

HB 4348 would create the Pharmacy Benefit Manager Licensure and Regulation Act to govern and license pharmacy benefit managers who provide Michiganders’ services.

HB 4357 would prohibit a drug manufacturer or wholesale distributor from giving or offering certain gifts to prescribers for the sale or promotion of drugs.

HB 4354 would prohibit a health insurance policy from applying financial requirements to orally administered anticancer medications that are more restrictive than the financial requirements it applies to intravenously administered or injected anti-cancer drugs.

This bill wouldn’t apply if the co-pay or coinsurance for orally administered anticancer medications under the policy were $ 150 or less per 30-day supply.

HB 4349 seeks to require hospitals to list standard charges for certain items and services publicly.

HB 4355 would amend the Public Health Code to allow a health professional licensed in another state to practice that health profession through telehealth in Michigan without obtaining a Michigan license.

Rep. Ann Bollin, R-Brighton, called it a “common-sense” solution “that will give people access to the best specialists to address their unique medical needs.

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Rep. Brenda Carter, D-Pontiac, warned the state could struggle to punish violations and “present patient safety and quality of care issues” if patients solely received care through video chat.