Twenty more days of the 2012 session and there is much to do.
Among the 30 health bills that CHI has been following this session, half are unresolved, ten have been approved and five have been voted down. (Link to bills we are tracking)
The health care-related bills passed by the legislature so far this session address some important issues, including attempts to streamline regulations and improve the delivery of services. Other successful initiatives focus on expanding the types of programs available to people who need of long-term services and supports.
Senator Joyce Foster (D) offered an amendment to the budget bill to restore the funding for circumcisions in the Medicaid program that was cut last year. But her amendment was not approved and her bill will die in committee unless a source of funding can be found. Meanwhile, an effort to offer oral health services to pregnant women covered by Medicaid (SB 12-108) was still up in the air as supporters tried to find funding in the budget to cover the cost. The bill argues that improving a mother’s oral health can prevent pregnancy complications impacting her child and improve the child’s oral health.
Seven of the remaining health bills have involved significant stakeholder negotiations and amendments and are now near final approval. All of these proposals aim to improve the delivery of services and, ultimately, reduce their cost.
- HB 12-1041 Electronic Death Registration System
- HB 12-1052 Health Care Workforce Data Collection
- HB 12-1294 Modifications to the System of Health Facilities Regulation
- HB 12-1281 Medicaid Payment Reform Pilot Program
- SB 12-060 Improve Medicaid Fraud Prosecution
- SB 12-128 Alternative Care Facility Reimbursement Pilot
- SB 12-020 Immunity For Reporters of Overdoses
Legislators will be able to make more progress now that both houses have approved the budget bill. Next week, the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) will meet to resolve amendments added by the House and Senate.
It won’t be a breeze from here until the legislature adjourns May 9. There are many bills competing for the attention of lawmakers, including two proposals that have generated highly charged debates in past years: establishment of civil unions and creation of a new level of tuition for state colleges and universities for un-documented students.
It will be challenging to reach consensus on these and the other remaining proposals. Although the bi-partisan legislature produces fewer bills, many of this year’s bills have produced innovative and collaborative programs. So stay tuned.