Rep. Keith Frederick Capitol Report for Feb. 4
February 3, 2016
In The News
This Capitol Report will give you an account of what is transpiring in your State Capitol, from the perspective of a citizen legislator. I try to give you a feel for the process and the substance of what is being talked about with an "Inside Baseball" approach.
Congressman Jason Smith
Congressman Jason Smith came to the house this week, and I had time to visit with him. I told him again that I admired his vote against the huge spending bill several weeks ago. I asked him about why Congressman Hartzler and Congressmen Graves voted for that spending bill, and he wasn't really sure.
This week's Committee on Health and Mental Health Policy Hearing
We heard four bills this week in the committee I chair, the Committee on Health and Mental Health Policy.
The first bill heard makes adjustments to laws concerning prescription drug step therapy. When used, step therapy protocols require people needing medicine to try the safest and most cost-effective drugs before more costly or risky drugs will be covered by an insurance provider. Although step therapy is good for controlling costs, it can be harmful to stable patients who get new insurance, or switch providers. Often, they must restart the process with level one drugs, independent of what medication worked best for them on their old plan. The HB2029 will make it easier to bypass step-therapy. More discussions on this bill will take place at a later committee hearing.
Another bill we heard was HB 1923, a bill relating to Telehealth. The portion of this bill that deals with “Store and Forward” is from a bill I filed last session. In 2013 we passed SB 262 that authorized commercial insurance reimbursement for telehealth, though it did not authorize “Store and Forward” technology. HB 1923 will allow “Store and Forward” technology for use with Medicaid, and therefore will also authorize it to use with commercial insurance, since they were not willing to reimburse so long as Medicaid failed to recognize it for reimbursement.
Next we heard and passed HB 1387, adding Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) to the list of diseases tested for during newborn screening. Early detection of SCID is essential to effective treatment. Currently, it is the only one of the recommended diseases Missouri does not screen for. Due to the urgency and importance of infant health, we passed this bill with an emergency clause that allows it to be enacted immediately after it passes.
I was also able to present house bill 1682 entitled the healthcare freedom act, a bill that I sponsored. This provides that the state shall not require a physician to participate in any particular health care plan as a condition of licensure. The licensing of a physician should be based on his or her qualifications, training, and experience and track record, and not on any economic decisions about whether or not the physician participate in a health care plan that the Government favors.