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Legislative update: State House considers multiple health insurance mandates

March 24, 2012

(By Dave Jessup, Director of Government Relations) Proponents of mandated insurance coverage for the treatment of autism argued their case this week. At the same SBAM joined other core business groups in offering testimony opposing legislative efforts to enact price controls on oral chemotherapy pharmaceuticals. 


SB 414, sponsored by Sen. Mike Green (R-Mayville); SB 0415, sponsored by Sen. Tupac Hunter (D-Detroit) and SB 0981, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe), were all up for discussion in the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee on Thursday. The bill sponsors were joined by Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley in voicing support for the package.

The package allows insurance carriers or third-party administrators to get reimbursements from the state for any autism-related claims. However, some observers doubt whether the $15 million dollar proposed appropriation is nearly enough to cover the cost of the mandate. This uncertainty, along with the many other factors that are projected to raise the cost of healthcare premiums, has led the business community, SBAM chief among them, to oppose the measure. 
SBAM is generally supportive of measures that help lower costs of care and allows increased access to treatment options for all health matters, including autism. However, SBAM has long opposed any and all attempts to accomplish this through mandated benefits, as it foists the financial burden exclusively on small businesses and individuals through increased co-premiums, co-pays and deductibles. 

Oral chemotherapy pharmaceuticals

On another front in the fight to help contain healthcare costs for small businesses, SBAM testified before the House Health Policy Committee this week to oppose mandated price parity for oral chemo therapy drugs. 

Pharmaceutical drugs make up a significant portion of the cost of health care and high-cost specialty drugs make up the fastest-growing segment of those cost drivers. The package of bills would shift those costs to employer healthcare premiums, as a result of mandating price parity. With the large self-insured companies exempted, the financial burden exclusively falls on the small business owner.

While neither committee took action on either issue, action could come as quickly as next week. SBAM members are encouraged to contact their lawmakers to ask them to oppose measures that mandate health insurance coverage, as insurance mandates continue to drive costs up for employer–sponsored health insurance. 

What do you think of these mandated benefit proposals? Leave a comment below!

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