Pharma Recap: Which bills we’re watching

By Jackie Nappo and Jill Zorn

For a short session, there seem to be an endless stream of bills, many of them that we support, that have been proposed to help state residents with health care costs.

Included in these bills are a few aimed at addressing prescription drug costs. Here are the three big ones that we’re keeping an eye on, and what’s going on with them at the moment. Stay tuned for more information on what bills we’re watching, and what we can expect as the session moves forward. Our testimony is linked at the bottom!

Addressing the cost of diabetes drugs and supplies  (SB 1)

The insulin bill advanced out of committee with support from both parties, with only one legislator voting against its advancement. The bill would apply monthly cost maximums to diabetes drugs  and supplies. It also establishes the ability for diabetics to get an emergency supply of insulin.  Legislators have called the bill their #1 priority for the session.

Limiting mid-year bait and switch (HB 5361)

One of our priorities is stopping insurance companies from changing the list of prescriptions they cover halfway through the plan year, leaving consumers with no option to switch plans to get the drugs they need. Currently a bill that aims to limit the instances where insurers can do this has passed out of committee. The bill passed in the House last year, and just was voted out of committee with only one nay vote so we’re hopeful that it will pass pass the senate and house this year and become law.

Capping monthly prescription drug costs (HB 5366)

Finally, legislators introduced a big bill with several components addressing prescription drug costs in general. There are MANY parts of this bill, but our highest priority within it is a proposal to put a monthly cap on out of pocket costs for all prescriptions.  Though this bill also advanced out of committee, we aren’t sure which provisions of it will survive, which will be rewritten and which will disappear as the session continues.  We will certainly keep  our eye on it for the rest of the session.

Testimony on HB 5366

Testimony on HB 5361

Testimony on SB 1