Last Wednesday, House Commerce and Energy killed House Bill 1067, Sanford Health’s effort to undo the “any willing provider” health insurance reform passed by voters as Initiated Measure 17 in 2014. The will of the voters stands for now.
But Rep. Steven McCleery (D-1/Sisseton) says we should stay alert for another sally against IM 17. At Thursday’s Front Porch Conversation hosted by the Brown County Democratic Party, Rep. McCleery said Senator Deb Peteres (R-9/Hartford) pushed hard for HB 1067 and may translate her push to a Senate bill. Senator Peters and anti-IM 17 insurance agent Rep. Mark Willadsen (R-11/Sioux Falls) have a carcass bill in the Senate hopper, SB 128. Titled “An Act to guarantee consumer choice,” that carcass bill has just one line, “Consumer choice shall be guaranteed.” It awaits attention from Senate State Affairs, where Senator Peters could hoghouse in some form of the language from HB 1067.
Rep. McCleery, who also serves on the board of directors of Coteau des Prairies Health Care System, said he would probably vote no if such a measure makes it back to his side of the Capitol, but he said Thursday that he gets the argument Sanford is making. Rep. McCleery said voters were “misled” on IM 17 and that the law hasn’t worked as intended.
Senator Jason Frerichs (D-1/Wilmot) defended IM 17 a bit more succinctly, not on policy grounds but on political grounds. He said that, offered a measure seeking to undo IM 17, he would respect the voters and vote no.
I get so tired of hearing that voters were “misled” about something that the voters passed, and by a wide margin, too. No, we weren’t misled. We voted, and expressed the will of the people, and now we expect you, our elected representatives to respect our vote and do that will. Pity that’s so hard for so many in our legislature to understand.
We absolutely need to keep competition in the health care industry. I am all for national health care and South Dakota might sign on to that but we need to keep competition in the health care. Even my Republican friends say the main problem is to high of health care costs. Well Mike Rounds went to Washington and got rid of the committee that puts a lid on the amount hospitals can charge,(not a good idea) and now if they take the competition out of it we lose the advantage of a second opinion and the chance of competition keeping prices in line. The House was totally correct in killing this bill.
After several walkover elections Sen. Peters may draw a strong opponent over this issue.
Obama has an answer in the new budget. http://www.natap.org/2016/newsUpdates/021116_02.htm
“The budget also includes a transparency measure for health plans. The proposal calls for standardizing billing documents and eliminating surprise out-of-network charges for privately insured patients receiving care at in-network facility. Surprise out-of-network charges occur when patients go to in-network hospitals, but are cared for by out-of-network providers. When this happens, providers charge patients the out-of-network cost sharing and bill them for unpaid balances. The budget proposes requires hospitals and physicians to ensure that patients don’t receiving treatment from out-of-network providers when they visit in-network hospitals.
“Hospitals would have to take reasonable steps to match individual patients with providers that are considered in-network for their plan,” the Budget In Brief states. “Furthermore, all physicians who regularly provide services in hospitals would be required to accept an appropriate in-network rate as payment-in-full. Thus, if the hospital failed to match a patient to an in-network provider, the patient would still be protected from surprise out-of-network charges.
The measure has no budget impact. — John Wilkerson”
Daggone Democrats anyway. What a bunch of dogooders trying to help the American people including those here in South Dakota who already voted to support this.
Wonder if this is related to DakotaCare’s take-over by Avera…