Several MHA-tracked bills received testimony and votes the week of Sept. 18 as the state legislature continues its fall calendar.
The House Health Policy Committee heard testimony and voted on the Reproductive Health Act bills. These bills were reported out of committee largely on party lines but with one member of the Democrat Caucus opposing the legislation. Representative Karen Whitsett (D-Detroit) voted in opposition to the bills and voiced concern that the state should be focused on supporting senior citizens. The MHA continues to monitor this legislation and will share updates throughout the legislative process.
The Senate Finance, Insurance and Consumer Protection Committee took testimony on Senate Bills 483, 484 and 485, introduced by Senators Darrin Camilleri (D-Trenton), Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City), and Veronica Klinefelt (D-Eastpointe). The bills, taken together, create the Prescription Drug Advisory Board (PDAB) and stakeholder council. The PDAB is charged with and intended to review drug costs, assess cost impacts on consumers, and ultimately create opportunities for reducing consumer expenditures on drugs through the creation of upper payment limits (UPLs).
If the PDAB were to institute a UPL on a drug based on a review of the drug’s increased cost and impact on consumer access, a purchaser or payer would be prohibited from purchasing, billing or reimbursing above the set UPL. The MHA is supportive of opportunities to reduce prescription drug prices for consumers, including hospital purchasers, and continues to work with the sponsors and leadership on these bills to ensure hospital purchasers are fully recognized and supported. The MHA has not taken a formal position on this package of bills.
The Senate Labor Committee voted out Senate Bill 171, sponsored by Senator Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo). The bill repeals the local government labor regulatory limitation act, which prohibits localities from regulating employment relationships. Specifically, repealing the legislation would allow for a local unit of government to institute things like a higher local minimum wage than the state, or potentially institute local staffing and scheduling regulations. The MHA, and a coalition of other business and employer groups, oppose this legislation.
Members with questions about state legislative action may contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.
Based on requirements in legislative boilerplate, the MHA created and distributed to the Michigan Legislature Sept. 28 a report on the results of the state healthcare workforce grant, which brought $225 million to Michigan hospitals for workforce recruitment, retention and training.
The report includes the categories for which the funding was used, the total number of healthcare workers impacted and financial data on the exorbitant growth in labor expense since 2020. Specifically, total statewide labor expense by hospitals per year is estimated to grow by more than $1 billion in just two years. In addition, 69,000 healthcare workers have already benefitted from the workforce grant funds.
The document also includes specific examples and testimonials from several hospitals throughout the state on the benefits of the state funding and how it has been used. The submission of workforce data by MHA members has been extremely useful in the creation of the report and demonstrating the impacts of increased labor expenses in advocacy efforts.
For questions on the report and the state healthcare workforce grant, please contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.
During the week of March 14, the Michigan Legislature acted on a bill to make changes to the prior authorization process for commercial insurers and a bill to increase penalties for assaulting healthcare employees and volunteers.
The House Health Policy Committee reported Senate Bill (SB) 247, which would make changes to decrease wait times for commercial insurance prior authorization requests. Introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), the legislation would shorten the timeline for approval to seven calendar days, or 72 hours for urgent requests, as well as ensure that emergency care can be provided without prior approval. The MHA supports the bill and provided written testimony to the committee earlier in the year. SB 247 now heads to the House floor for a full vote.
The full House of Representatives March 16 voted in support of legislation to increase penalties for assaulting healthcare employees and volunteers. House Bill (HB) 5682, introduced by Rep. Mike Mueller (R-Linden), went through several changes in committee, and the language now doubles the fines for assaulting a healthcare employee or volunteer in any care setting. HB 5682 would also require the posting of signage in hospital emergency rooms to deter potential assaults. Michigan hospitals may obtain example signs from the MHA free of charge. The MHA supports the bill, which will now go to the Senate for further consideration.
For more information on these bills or other state legislation related to healthcare, contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.