Drug price transparency bill and others move closer to law

Several pieces of health policy legislation moved one step closer to becoming law Tuesday when the Finance and Appropriations Subcommittee voted in favor of reporting them on.

 

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One of the most watched of these bills is HB 2007, known as the Prescription Drug Price Transparency bill. The bill, which passed through the subcommittee 15-0,  would direct the Department of Health to enter into a contract with a nonprofit, likely Virginia Health Information, to collect and share prescription drug pricing from every carrier, pharmacy benefits manager and drug manufacturer. The idea is to provide prescription price relief to consumers.

The bill’s sponsor, Del. Mark Sickles, was not available for testimony during the hearing, but Sen. George Barker, who is familiar with the legislation, commented.

“This bill is not going to solve all the problems in terms of prescription drug prices, but it’s a significant step forward on how we provide access to drugs that are needed, but not encourage unlimited expenses.”

Delegate Elizabeth Guzman’s Paid Sick Leave bill also passed, but by only 9-4. House Bill 2137 would give home health workers access to sick leave if they work at least 20 hours a week or 90 hours per month.

“This will help the home health care workers who have been providing care to the Medicaid patients during the pandemic.”

A bill that lets everyone be tested and treated for — and vaccinated against  — COVID-19 passed unanimously out of the subcommittee. House Bill 2124 would allow all individuals receive COVID-19 care, regardless of their inability to pay or qualify for care based on their immigration status.

Delegate Alfonso Lopez sponsored the bill and pointed out that leaving these populations untreated would contribute to the public health crisis.

“No person in the commonwealth of Virginia should have to go untested, untreated or unvaccinated during the most catastrophic pandemic in a century due to their inability to pay or their immigration status.”

All three bills have passed the House of Delegates and have been referred on through other various Senate subcommittees.