2015 Measures Benefit Patients & Economy

April 17, 2015 by  

One State Leads fight for Health Care Freedom – Arizona

  • HB 2643  Stopping Obamacare in ArizonaStates shouldn’t try to save the Obamacare subsidies and HB 2643 ensures Arizona doesn’t try.  The new law prohibits the state and all of its political subdivisions from using any personnel or financial resources to enforce, administer, or cooperate with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  See John Graham’s latest on Arizona (NCPA).
  • HB 2417 (formerly SB 1284 ) Paying Directly for care just got betterHigher insurance premiums, deductibles & co-pays plus narrow provider networks  are costing patients more. By paying directly.…market forces come into play and patients can pay much less.  With HB 2417, paying directly will be even more cost effective as the law ensures insurance companies cooperate when patients go out of network for covered services by applying their payments to the in-network deductible.

  • SB 1039  Expands Health Care Sharing Option:   The cost of health insurance continues to skyrocket – and if Obamacare subsidies come to a halt if ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, even more people will be seeking affordable health care options.  HCSMs are exempt from the Affordable Care Act and they’re actually affordable.  SB 1039 aligns the state and federal definitions of HCSMs so that more people can take advantage of this option.  Read more: Alliance for Health Care Sharing Ministries.
  • HB 2645  Laboratory Testing Without Order –   The lab industry will never be the same thanks to some serious free market interventions in Arizona:  Less regulation a-la HB 2645, now allowing patients (see press release here) to pursue lab tests without a doctor’s prescription – and an innovative company named Theranos which offers patients more value for less cost and less blood is a winning combination.  If you haven’t heard of Theranos’ Founder & CEO Elizabeth Holmes, you soon will!  Many Arizonans are already benefiting from the Theranos/Walgreens partnership at 40 locations across the state.
  • SB 1320  Cosmetology Board can’t license makeup Artists –  Should people who apply makeup & eyelashes have to have a license to do business?  SB 1320 makes sure they don’t in Arizona. Chalk one up for keeping government from inhibiting entry into yet another business field.  Read about another ‘Fishy Regulation’ this Board is being sued over.

Addressing the over-prescribing epidemic: More than 100 people die each day due to legal prescription opioid overdose in the U.S.  SB 1032 requires Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) contractors to intervene if a member has 10 or more prescriptions for controlled substances within a three-month period.

There’s a physician shortage in Arizona:  SB 1149 ensures that licensing them doesn’t add to the problem!  SB 1149 clarifies the fingerprint concerns the FBI raised and gives the board leeway to streamline.

Protecting Patients and Taxpayers:

  • SB 1404  Patient End-of-Life Protections:  SB 1404 will help better protect vulnerable patients at the end of their lives,  specifically by ensuring that health care powers of attorney and advance directives will not be usurped by a Physician’s Order for Life Sustaining Treatments (POLST).  End of life decisions are always difficult to make and should involve much thought and consultation. SB 1404 preserves these current mechanisms so that the advance wishes of patients will be honored.
  • SB 1318  Ending Taxpayer Funded Abortion in the Exchanges:  41/199 of the exchange insurance plans in Arizona include abortion coverage. Considering 75% of those purchasing these plans receive subsidies, taxpayers have been subsidizing abortions.  With SB 1318 signed into law, Arizona joins 23 other states prohibiting abortion coverage in their exchange plans.  The bill also ensures women are informed that a medication abortion (RU-486) may be reversed – but time is of the essence.  Read Dr. Allan Sawyer’ testimony in support of providing this information to women seeking a second chance to give their unborn child life.
  • SB 1401  In-Home Care Disclosure:  Almost all Arizonans wish to remain in their own homes as they age – and most do – but many need personal non-medical services in order to help them along the way.  SB 1401 ensures they and their loved ones have more information about who they hire to provide in-home services – such as background checks and hiring/firing policies.
  • SB 1034  Detering ER misuse in Medicaid system: SB 1034 requires an Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) contractor to intervene and educate an AHCCCS member on the proper use of emergency services if used improperly and to report this intervention to AHCCCS.  It’s about time!

Health Care System Reform & Oversight Accountability:

  • SB 1283  Better Outpatient Treatment through Integration:  People with Serious Mental Illness have historically been treated in completely different health systems and facilities, leading to much higher morbidity rates.  That is changing and SB 1283 removes regulations to accommodate co-locating physical and behavioral health providers to better serve this population.
  •  SB 1092  Arizona’s AHCCCS Opportunity:  With the goal of moving people from welfare to self-sufficiency, SB 1092 was one of the first bills Gov. Ducey signed this year.  The law ensures Arizona requests important waivers to our Medicaid program that could aid able-bodied Arizonans from our taxpayer-funded health care system into private insurance by adding work requirements, lifetime eligibility caps and meaningful co-pays to deter non-emergency use of ambulance services and the ER – if/when approved by HHS. The state of Indiana recently received federal approval for co-pays, so Arizona is pursuing this and other common sense reforms that increase Arizona’s control over the program.  Read the AHCCCS Care program here.
  • SB 1400  Human Rights Committees – You are Appreciated!:  Members of the community – all volunteers – serve on a number of HRCs throughout the state, reviewing incident and accident reports regarding the services those with serious mental illness, behavioral health issues and developmental disabilities receive.  SB 1400 clarified the mission of the HRCs and the expectations of the agencies with whom they work so these valuable HRCs can continue to help the Legislature keep the agencies accountable and proliferate.

Disappointments – Health Bills that didn’t get through: 

  • SB 1189 Health Insurance Across State Lines:  If passed, SB 1189 would allow Arizona consumers the freedom to purchase health insurance plans regulated in other states.  This reform would give consumers more choices in the increasingly government-controlled health care market, and would use competition to lower the prices of health plans.
  • SCR 1003 Interstate Medical State Licensure CompactIt’s important that Arizona control its licensing policies and standards – not a federation.  SCR 1003 would have prohibited Arizona’s participation in the compact.
  • SB 1075  Unfair Claim Settlement Practices – Chiropractic:  Aimed at ensuring even-handed enforcement by the Dept. of Insurance & curbing payment discrimination.

Health Care priorities for next session?

  • Mental Health – Hospital ERs, the streets and prisons are today’s mental institutions, which is unacceptable.  It’s time to ensure the MOST seriously mentally ill are treated appropriately and that Arizona’s disjointed systems help rather than frustrate families seeking help for their loved ones.
  • Drug formularies – Truth in Advertising:  Patients should be able to trust the information on their health insurer’s website, but the drugs you’re promised are not always the drugs you’ll get.  And the info should be accessible and searchable by the enrollees, potential enrollees and providers.
  • E-Health Records – Privacy, Control and Security:  Arizona patients continue to have concerns about the security of their private health information with the proliferation of networks and patient information sharing – especially in light of the increasing number of security breaches.  Health Care systems are now the targets of choice as health information is more valuable than financial information.  More transparency and patient control is in order.

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