Tag: Bill (law)

Seven takeaways from Trump’s 2019 budget proposal
Welfare

Seven takeaways from Trump’s 2019 budget proposal

Unveiled Monday, the $4.4 trillion spending plan now heads to the GOP-controlled Congress where it’s expected to get a cool reception even from key Republican lawmakers who already rejected many of the same cuts proposed in the president’s 2018 budget plan Trump proposed last year.
In addition, Senate Democrats are likely to fight Trump’s decision not to recommend funding domestic programs as much as a recently negotiated congressional spending deal would allow.
The plan also proposes deep domestic cuts to health assistance, foreign aid, and housing programs and slashes state grants for education, the environment and community redevelopment.
While Trump promised during his presidential run not to cut Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security, he continues to propose changes to those programs.
In addition to seeking major savings in Medicaid for the second year in a row, Trump also wants to find more than $554 billion in Medicare savings.
Programs for poor take a hit As he did last year, Trump is proposing major cuts in safety-net programs.
The budget proposal also axes a grant program for states used to support social services such as child care assistance.
It would also end after two years the private insurance subsidies for people who don’t get coverage through a government program or an employer, while giving states grants to develop their own programs.
More: Trump budget proposes again to cut federal funding for Amtrak in half, which Congress has rejected The budget deal made a difference The congressional budget deal that lifted spending caps known as the “sequester” that Congress imposed in 2011 seems to already be making a difference.
Both defense and non-defense spending would see a boost in Trump’s proposal, though the president is not proposing to spend as much as the caps allow because of the increase to the national debt.

S.D. bill aims to prevent lawsuits against comp insurers, employers
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S.D. bill aims to prevent lawsuits against comp insurers, employers

Reprints Louise Esola Lawmakers in South Dakota are slated Tuesday to hear about proposed legislation that would prevent injured workers from suing their employers, workers compensation insurers and third-party administrators on bad faith claims.
S.B.
145, sponsored by a total of 21 state senators and representatives, will leave bad faith claims up to the state’s Department of Labor and Regulation, which oversees the state’s workers compensation program, and would ensure that an employee receives that which is due.
Currently, parties involved in workers comp claims can be sued in civil court if an employee finds that he or she has been treated unfairly.
The department, if it finds favor in the employee’s claim, can “allow the employee a reasonable sum for attorney’s fees to be recovered and collected as part of the costs following a separate hearing of record,” according to a draft of the legislation.
“No person may bring or maintain a cause of action in relation to workers’ compensation benefits sounding in tort or in contract against any employer, employer who is self insured, a risk sharing pool, a third-party administrator, or any insurance company, including any reciprocal or interinsurance exchange, based on a wrongful act, omission, wrongful denial or any claim for refusal to investigate a claim or pay a loss that was considered vexatious, without reasonable cause, or in bad faith,” the draft states.

State Medicaid Leaders Call Senate Health Care Bill ‘Unworkable’
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State Medicaid Leaders Call Senate Health Care Bill ‘Unworkable’

State Medicaid Leaders Call Senate Health Care Bill ‘Unworkable’.
A bipartisan group representing directors of state Medicaid programs opposes funding cuts in the Senate health care bill, calling the new growth rate “insufficient and unworkable.”
The National Association of Medicaid Directors released a statement on the Better Care Reconciliation Act on Monday which said the cuts more than outweigh parts of the bill they support. “Changes in the federal responsibility for financing the program must be accompanied by clearly articulated statutory changes to Medicaid to enable states to operate effectively under a cap.
The Senate bill does not accomplish that,” the statement says.
The Senate health care bill proposes shifting Medicaid financing to block grants for the states depending on enrollment, and aims to phase out the federal funding implemented under Obamacare for Medicaid expansion. “While NAMD does not have consensus on the mandatory conversion of Medicaid financing to a per capita cap or block grant, the per capita cap growth rates for Medicaid in the Senate bill are insufficient and unworkable,” the statement says.
The NAMD has been a longtime advocate of Medicaid reform, the statement says, and are appreciative of portions in the bill that would give directors more of a voice in the way the program is run.
But, the statement notes, “no amount of administrative or regulatory flexibility can compensate for the federal spending reductions that would occur as a result of this bill.”
Proposed Medicaid cuts have been cause for concern among some Republicans, like Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, who said Friday he couldn’t support the bill, and West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito who said in a statement Thursday she is “evaluating” the impact the bill would have on her constituents who benefited from the Medicaid expansion.

The Republicans’ Jekyll-and-Hyde Health Care Plan
Welfare

The Republicans’ Jekyll-and-Hyde Health Care Plan

The Republicans’ Jekyll-and-Hyde Health Care Plan.
On Medicaid, the federal-state health program covering 74 million lower-income people, the Senate plan is harsher than the House plan.
The Senate plan imposes a harsher formula for its cap than the House plan, which already cuts Medicaid spending by $834 billion over 10 years.
Because states have to balance their budgets every year, unlike the federal government, many will struggle to compensate for reductions in federal aid caused by a spending cap.
but not the House plan, the tax credits will be adjusted for income and geography — which will benefit people in parts of the country with high premiums, especially rural areas.
The Senate bill would not allow such waivers.
Conservatives may like the idea of capping and cutting Medicaid, but they will not like the Senate bill’s Obamacare-lite tax credits.
Overall, it’s important not to focus too much on the differences between the Senate and House plans.
Both plans will reduce federal health care spending and cap Medicaid while shifting greater responsibility to the states.
And both plans will cause more Americans to go without coverage and struggle with health care bills.

Abortion Adds Obstacle as Republicans Plan to Unveil Health Bill
Welfare

Abortion Adds Obstacle as Republicans Plan to Unveil Health Bill

WASHINGTON — Abortion flared up Wednesday as the latest hot-button issue to complicate passage of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which Senate Republican leaders hope to unveil on Thursday and pass next week.
The repeal bill approved last month by the House would bar the use of federal tax credits to help purchase insurance plans that include coverage of abortion.
But senators said that provision might have to be jettisoned from their version because of complicated Senate rules that Republicans are using to expedite passage of the bill and avoid a filibuster.
If that provision is dropped, a bill that has already elicited deep misgivings among moderate Republicans — and stiff resistance from Democrats, health care providers and patient advocacy groups — could also generate concern among abortion opponents, as well as conservative lawmakers.
The changes being considered in Congress could “amount to a 25 percent shortfall in covering the actual cost of providing care to our nation’s neediest citizens,” the top executives of 10 insurance companies wrote.
The federal government is expected to spend more than $30 billion this year on tax credits to help lower- and middle-income people pay premiums.
The Senate bill would also repeal most of the taxes imposed by the Affordable Care Act.
Senators Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine, both Republicans, said they understood that the House restrictions on the use of tax credits for insurance covering abortion had encountered parliamentary problems.
The leaders of 10 insurance companies told Mr. McConnell that proposed caps on federal Medicaid spending would cause “an enormous cost shift to the states,” forcing them to raise taxes, reduce benefits, cut payments to health care providers or eliminate coverage for some beneficiaries.
“In my state,” Mr. Kennedy said, “we are now spending 47 percent of our budget on Medicaid.

Pennsylvania drug formulary bill progresses
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Pennsylvania drug formulary bill progresses

Pennsylvania drug formulary bill progresses.
Pennsylvania lawmakers will meet again Tuesday to examine amendments to a bill proposing to create a workers compensation drug formulary.
Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, R-Lehigh Valley, introduced House Bill 18 in February.
He told Business Insurance on Thursday that the Labor and Industry Committee approved the amendments by a 14-12 vote on Tuesday and will meet again to prepare the bill for a House vote.
The bill calls for the state to “select a nationally recognized, evidence-based prescription drug formulary appropriate for resolving issues related to drugs prescribed for or related to the treatment of work-related injuries, including, but not limited to, the type, dosage and duration of prescriptions.” The bill’s language also requires a public comment period following passage of the bill with 180 days to implement the formulary.
Rep. Mackenzie said the state is looking at other states, such as Texas, that have had luck with reducing the amount of opioids prescribed to injured workers.
Pennsylvania was ranked in the top third of the states with the most opioids prescribed under workers comp, according to a recent study by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Workers Compensation Research Institute.
Those numbers are helping to push a formulary among lawmakers, he said.
“There is pretty compelling evidence that shows we have an over prescription problem in our state,” he added.

Louisiana governor signs opioid legislation that limits prescriptions
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Louisiana governor signs opioid legislation that limits prescriptions

Louisiana governor signs opioid legislation that limits prescriptions.
Louisiana Gov.
John Bel Edwards signed into law legislation that limits the number of days a first-fill prescription for opioids can be prescribed in the state and strengthens rules the require doctors to access a drug monitoring database before prescribing.
Signed into law on Monday was House Bill 192, which implements a seven-day limit on first-time prescriptions of opioids for acute pain.
The bill makes a provision for chronic pain: “If, in the professional medical judgment of a medical practitioner, more than a seven-day supply of an opioid is required to treat the adult or minor patient’s acute medical condition … the practitioner may issue a prescription for the quantity needed to treat the patient’s acute medical condition or pain.
… (it) shall be documented in the patient’s medical record and the practitioner shall indicate that a nonopioid alternative was not appropriate to address the medical condition.” The prescriber-limit law goes into effect Aug. 1.
Also signed into law was Senate Bill 55, which requires doctors to check the prescription monitoring database before prescribing an opioid to a patient and to re-check the system every 90 days, in an effort to avoid the practice of doctor-shopping, which lawmakers argued helped fuel the opioid epidemic.
That law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
Workers compensation experts have said similar opioid legislation — as passed this year in states such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey — will affect doctors who prescribe to injured workers.

Bill would raise burden of proof in comp retaliation claims
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Bill would raise burden of proof in comp retaliation claims

Bill would raise burden of proof in comp retaliation claims.
The Missouri Legislature passed a bill Monday that would raise an employee’s burden of proof for workers compensation retaliation claims.
Senate Bill 66, sponsored by Senator Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, would modify the state’s workers comp law to make it more difficult for injured employees to sue employers for retaliation.
The bill would require employees who have been terminated to prove their workers comp claim was the motivating factor rather than a contributing factor in their termination from the company.
The bill is a response to the Missouri Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Templemire vs. W&M Welding Inc.
The high court overturned a circuit court ruling that sided with the employer, saying employees must demonstrate that their workers comp claim was a contributing factor to prove retaliation in discrimination or termination cases.
66 also states that if an employee voluntarily leaves his or her job at a time when an employer has available work that accommodates medical restrictions from the claim injury, the employee will not receive temporary total disability or temporary partial disability benefits.
In addition, the bill states that a positive test result for a non-prescribed drug creates a rebuttable presumption that the drug was in the employee’s system at the time of the accident or injury, which could result in a reduction in benefits.
If signed into law by Governor Eric Greitens, S.B.
66 will become effective Aug. 28.