Update on WSMA priority bills as legislative session passes halfway point
We’re at week six of the state legislative session, which means we’ve crested the peak of the short 60-day session, and the (scheduled) end—March 8—is in sight. Several crucial deadlines in the life of a bill have passed, meaning we have a better idea of what legislation will continue forward and which proposals are dead (for now).
The following is an update on the bills the WSMA identified as benefitting most from the support of our members when meeting with their legislators at this year’s Legislative Summit. For bill language, go to the Washington State Legislature bill information page.
Balance billing (HB 2114 – WSMA opposes). This legislation looks to solve the issue of balance billing, but as proposed would diminish incentives to contract for insurance carriers and fail to ensure fair reimbursement to physicians for the services they provide. HB 2114 was approved by the House and moves to the Senate for further consideration.
The opioid crisis: Governor’s omnibus opioid bill (HB 2489 / SB 6150 – WSMA supports). These bills would increase medication-assisted treatment, increase Medicaid funding to treat opioid addiction and treatment, and integrate the prescription monitoring program with electronic health records, among other provisions. HB 2489 was approved by the House with a unanimous vote and moves to the Senate for further consideration.
The opioid crisis: Attorney general’s pill limit bill (HB 2272 / SB 6050 – WSMA opposes). This bill would have limited first-time opiate prescriptions to a seven-day supply for those 21 and older, and a three-day supply for patients under 21, among other provisions. Both bills are dead.
The opioid crisis: Attorney general’s PMP mandated check bill (HB 2325 / SB 6028 – WSMA opposes). This legislation would have required a practitioner to review a patient’s controlled substance history in the prescription monitoring program before issuing prescription opioids. Both bills are dead.
The opioid crisis: Drug take back (HB 1047 – WSMA supports). This legislation would create a statewide system for safe and secure collection and disposal of unwanted medications. HB 1047 passed the House with an 86-12 bipartisan vote and moves to the Senate for further consideration.
Tobacco 21 (HB 1054 / SB 6048 – WSMA supports). This bill would raise the purchasing age for tobacco and vapor products to 21 years old. The House bill is in the House Rules Committee; the Senate bill is in Senate Ways & Means.
Whistleblower / Peer review protections (HB 2258 / SB 5998 – WSMA supports). This legislation, introduced by the WSMA, would promote patient safety by providing protections for employed and non-employed physician whistleblowers and clarifies requirements for proper peer review. SB 5998 was approved unanimously by the Senate and moves to the House for further consideration.
Rx affordability: Continuity of care (HB 2310 / SB 6147 – WSMA supports). This bill would lock carriers’ drug formularies in for a benefit year (with certain exemptions). SB 6147 was approved by the Senate and moves to the House for further consideration.
Rx affordability: Drug price transparency (HB 1541 / SB 5401 & SB 5586 – WSMA supports). This bill would instruct the state to select a data organization to collect, verify and summarize prescription drug pricing information and report this information to the legislature. HB 1541 was approved by the House and moves to the Senate for further consideration.
For a more comprehensive look at winning and losing legislation in Olympia thus far, visit the Capitol Report news page on the WSMA’s Legislative Action Center. Note that today (Feb. 14) is the last day to pass bills in house of origin—check that same page after Friday for the next status update on bills the WSMA is tracking.
Many thanks to the members who took time out of their busy schedules to come to the Summit and support our advocacy on behalf of these issues. Read more about the Summit later in this Membership Memo. Mark your calendars—the 2019 WSMA Legislative Summit is scheduled for Feb. 7 at the Capitol.