Legislature passes multiple health policy bills in final week

Following Sine Die over the weekend, here is a rundown of some of the noteworthy health policy bills that passed in the last few days of the legislative session.

CCO Transparency

The Coordinated Care Organization transparency bill (HB 4018) passed out of the Senate 28-1 following the approval of an amendment from Senate President Peter Courtney. The amendment clarifies that governing board meetings must be open to the public only if “substantive” decisions are made final.

The bill also requires these meetings be available in some format on the CCO’s website. The open meeting requirements do not go into effect until January 1, 2019.

Oregon State Public Interest Research Group supported the measure:

“There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure the CCO model lives up to its promise for Oregon consumers. HB 4018 by itself will not fundamentally transform the health care delivery system in Oregon, but its passage will make critical structural changes that will help make Oregon’s transformation efforts more successful.”

Prescription Drug Price Transparency

The Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act (HB 4005) also passed this session. The bill requires prescription drug manufactures to annually report prices of prescription drugs and the developing and marketing costs to the Department of Consumer and Business Services. It also establishes the Task Force on the Fair Pricing of Prescription Drugs to develop a strategy to create transparency for drug prices across the entire supply chain.

The bill passed out of the House 46-14 and the Senate 24-4. The Oregon Bioscience Association, PhRMA, MolecularMD, and DesignMedix testified in opposition, often citing increased complexity, confusion, and costs for pharmaceutical manufacturing and research companies.

Eric Lohnes, PhRMA’s senior director of state policy, testified against the bill:

“This bill provides an extremely narrow, over simplified, and distorted view of what is a complicated issue, with a complex supply chain, and various actors. This bill is silent on the value of medicine, and does not address some of the most impactful actors in the supply chain, namely PBMs and Insurance Carriers. Most importantly, this bill does nothing to help patients or save money for patients at the points of sale.”

Substance Abuse Disorders

House Bill 4143 addresses substance abuse disorders by requiring the Department of Consumer and Business Services to study the barriers to medication-assisted treatment, particularly in rural and undeserved areas. Additionally, The Oregon Health Authority is required to establish a pilot project to assess the effectiveness of peer recovery support mentors. Health care professionals who are licensed to prescribe opioids must register with the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

Other Bills

Other bills that passed this session include HB 4020, which clarifies financial assistance options, and HB 4135 to update Oregon’s advance directive forms. Under Senate Bill 1549, Oregon Health Plan enrollees who are admitted to a state hospital will no longer lose their coverage. Previously, patients would lose their Medicaid coverage upon admittance and would have to reenroll upon discharge, causing delays in accessing care.