As we race to the end of the session, the policy committees are finishing up the bills they still have in committee. The Health Care Committee is no exception. Here are the bills.

H.175: This bill allows Vermont to import prescription drugs from Canada and either become a wholesaler, or contract with a Vermont-licensed wholesaler to provide prescription drugs at a savings to Vermonters. This program will determine which drugs will offer the most cost savings and meet all FDA standards. A study group will design the program. We will be working with Utah in developing this plan and both of our states congressional teams will, at the federal level, provide the support needed to implement the plan.

H.404 is a bill that will require all carriers providing insurance on the Vermont Health Exchange to determine how to cover the cost of oral and emergency contraceptives without cost sharing, and cover the cost of Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives when the device is inserted immediately after the woman’s delivery.

S.92: This act is related to interchangeable biologic products. The Senate agreed with the House Health Care amendments and it passed for the governor’s approval.

S.203: Systemic improvements to the mental health system. This bill has many aspects to it. Primarily it requires the Vt. Agency of Human Services to submit an evaluation of mental health care in Vermont. This will include all stakeholders working toward a common long-term vision for the full integration of mental health services within a comprehensive and holistic health care system. The other aspects of the bill are rates of payments to the designated agencies, and specialized service agencies with long term goals of payment reform. Oversight to the changes needed to psychiatric inpatient capacity.

S.224: An act related to chiropractor and physical therapist copayments. This applies to the silver and bronze plans on the exchange. While taking testimony on this bill it became clear to our members that a change was required. We are asking for a third tier between the primary care provider level and the specialist, in order to make the payments reasonable. The bill includes other non-pharmaceutical modalities to be considered as well.

S.262 deals with miscellaneous changes to the Medicaid program. It deals with eligibility for workers with disabilities, increasing the threshold for Dr. Dynasuer to 195 percent of the FPL, and consent procedures for eligibility in the programs. Bankers weighed in on this bill due to the burden they have to bare in providing the incomes of the participants.

Three bills coming this week: S.260 clean up of the state’s waters, H.923 capital bill and H.919 the budget.

Question? Contact me at, FB: BetsyDunn for the VT House or 238-4271.