Protect your medical records

March 18, 2012

The main purpose of the latest Electronic Medical Records bill – signed into law this year – was to include electronic prescribing as an acceptable method for prescribing controlled substances as long as they follow all the DEA rules and regs.

That’s good.  Federal ARRA legislation (the loathsome “stimulus” bill)  rewards doctors for e-prescribing, expecting fewer medical errors and better use of up-to-date patient records will result in fewer diagnostics, better care and lower health care costs.  This is a great goal.   The jury is still out as to whether it will do these things, but it’s likely to improve patient care….as long as patients’ consent and privacy rights and information are protected in these systems.  [Read more]

‘Wrongful Birth’ lawsuits simply wrong

March 18, 2012

Liberal bloggers from around the country caused needless hysteria over my sponsorship of Arizona’s SB 1359, wrongful birth; wrongful life tort reform, claiming it gives doctors license to lie to their patients.  It doesn’t.  That would be wrong.

The measure, signed into law by Governor Brewer, will protect physicians who have done nothing wrong from predatory lawsuits in cases where patients sue their doctors, arguing they would have aborted their child if the doctor had correctly diagnosed a birth defect or fetal anomaly while their baby was in utero.   But ask yourself:

  • Why should physicians who have done everything “by the book” – except know the unknowable – remain in legal crosshairs?
  • Is life with a disability not a life worth living?

Wrongful life/wrongful birth lawsuits implicitly endorse the view that the life of a disabled child is worth less than the life of a healthy child. [Read more]

Students to ‘Move on When Ready’

August 20, 2011

The Center for the Future of Arizona reports about half of Arizona high school graduates require at least one non-credit, developmental math course.  And forty-one percent of incoming community college students require at least one pre-college course in reading or English before they can advance to college-level courses.

On the other end of the spectrum, a significant number of high achieving students fail to graduate because they’re bored, adding to Arizona’s 30% graduation failure rate. [Read more]

School Choice Championed

July 15, 2011

“The most promising cost-effective strategies for improving education include healthy doses of competition and consumer choice, an approach championed by Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.”   Investors Business Daily

Other states are catching up, but Arizona continues to lead the nation in offering parents plenty of educational choices for their kids – in April the courts confirming their rights to direct education dollars:  Students Win in Court Ruling.

Here’s a summary of this session’s work undergirding school choice in Arizona: [Read more]

A 2011 Session Summary

May 8, 2011

The AZ Senate convened in January with the primary objective of improving AZ’s economic climate and approaching the state’s budget crisis responsibly.    In addition to enacting an economic recovery package and a balanced budget, the Legislature also achieved major reforms in the state’s retirement system and regulatory structure.   These and other key accomplishments are outlined here:
[Read more]

’11 session a success…mostly

May 8, 2011

Enacting a truly balanced budget (the first in 5 years!) with no gimmicks or new borrowing and enhancing Arizona’s competitive business environment were the main goals of the 50th Legislature – and we achieved both.

These and many other important issues were addressed this session (see A 2011 Session Summary),  but there were some disappointments.

Topping my list were two majority-supported health care reforms that met the Governor’s veto pen.  [Read more]

New Gun Laws

April 11, 2011

Let’s stop with the fear-mongering over whether law-abiding citizens ought to be able to defend themselves in this world we wish were danger-free.  In the real world bad dudes carry – often with intent to harm – whether a building sports a “Gun-Free Zone” sign or not.

Some may not have all their wits about them – like the Jared Loughners of the world – others may have a vendetta they won’t hesitate to carry out at a workplace, church or school campus – anywhere – especially where there’s a sign disarming anyone who might get in their way – like an armed citizen. [Read more]

Health Care Compact Q&A

February 27, 2011

Q&A regarding SB 1592 – the Health Care Compact (passed House & Senate!)

  • What is the Health Care Compact?

The Health Care Compact is an interstate compact – which is simply an agreement between two or more states that is consented to by Congress – that restores authority and responsibility for health care regulation to the member states and provides the funds to the states to fulfill that responsibility.

  • Why is a state compact necessary?

Federal law preempts conflicting state law.  Because the federal government has passed laws that regulate health care, states are unable to enact laws that differ from these federal laws.  A compact can solve this problem by allowing states to suspend the operation of federal health care laws within states that are members of the compact.  Once Congress consents to the compact, the compact becomes federal law.  Therefore, there is no longer any conflict between federal and state law and therefore no preemption of state law by federal law.

  • What happens to states that do not enter the compact?

States that do not enter the compact will continue to operate under federal health care laws and regulations.  Only in states that are members of the compact will federal health care laws that conflict with state laws be suspended. [Read more]

Bucking Big Insurance

February 27, 2011

There’s a battle raging at the Capitol –  over whether to support significant insurance reforms this session – expanding competitive options in the insurance market.

Here’s what is happening.  Some Legislators are holding back support of three bills that will level the playing field and provide more free market insurance solutions:

  • SB 1593 will allow insurance to be purchased across state lines
  • SB 1590 allows small employers to pool together by choice to establish health benefit plans
  • SB 1591 ensures all businesses have access to their own claims data – not just large employers

Why are they hesitating?  [Read more]

Insurance Competition – the Policy Prescription

February 13, 2011

State insurance laws have created significant barriers to competition in the health insurance market.  These 4 bills, if passed, will level the playing field and allow families and businesses health insurance options and transparency.

SB 1590 Pooling by Choice (held this session)

Allow for voluntary risk pooling with Arizona based “association health plans”.
Bigger businesses pay 20% less on average than small businesses.  Using ERISA law as the main framework, where already 70% of the commercial insurance market is regulated (including all state and municipal employees, Banner, Blue Cross, United Health Care, Aetna, Vanguard, University Physicians), the law creates the opportunity for businesses to form their own purchasing alliances – and maintain control over the data and decisions. [Read more]

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