Oregon health bills to watch

Oregon’s 2020 Legislative Session is set to begin Monday, Feb 3. Though the session will only last 35 days, legislators have already pre-filed a series of health-related bills, many of which are already scheduled for public hearings in committee.

With session right around the corner, here’s a list of health-related bills we’ll be watching in the coming months.

 

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Vaping: 

Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health Care, is sponsoring several bills aimed at reducing vaping rates in Oregon. SB 1559 would prohibit the sale or distribution of flavored vaping products in the state. According to the bill, anyone in violation of the ban could face a civil penalty up to $5,000. Monnes Anderson is also sponsoring HB 4078, at the request of AG Ellen Rosenblum, which would ban the sale of vaping devices through mail, telephone, or online in Oregon. The act would take effect immediately upon passage. 

CCO transparency:

SB 1551 would require the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to report to the legislature every 6 months on financial information related to coordinated care organizations (CCOs). Specifically, OHA would report any civil penalties on CCOs, corrective actions required of CCOs and steps taken, and problems or concerns raised by CCOs related to financial reserve requirements. The first report from OHA would take place no later than Sept. 15, 2020. 

The bill would also prohibit CCOs from withholding required information from OHA based on the ground that the information is a trade secret. 

Another bill, HB 4102, would require CCOs to annually report prior authorization information to OHA. The report would need to detail the number of prior authorization requests received, the number of requests denied and the reason for the denials, and the number of denials that were reversed. All insurers in the state offering a health benefit plan would be required to supply this information as well.

HB 4102 would make additional changes to prior authorization requirements with the goal of making it easier for enrollees to access treatment or care. In an end of the year newsletter, Rep. Rachel Prusak, one of the chief sponsors of HB 4102, stated that making changes to prior authorization and step therapy protocols were a top priority for her in 2020. 

“Utilization management practices, such as prior authorization and step therapy are important tools to contain medical costs and ensure quality of care. However, they can often result in delayed treatment, abandonment of treatment, and higher administrative burdens. My bill seeks to ensure utilization management protocols are fair, transparent, evidence-based, and best support the health needs of the patient while preventing treatment delays and treatment abandonment,” wrote Prusak. 

Insulin Costs:

A bill sponsored by Rep. Sheri Schouten, Rep. David Brock Smith, and Sen. James Manning would cap the out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $100 for a 30-day supply. In May, Colorado became the first state in the nation to pass legislation capping the price of insulin for consumers. Since then, other states have followed suit. 

Drug Importation:

HB 4147, which was submitted at the request of the Oregon Coalition for Affordable Prescriptions, directs OHA to design a program for the importation of wholesale prescription drugs from Canada. The bill specifies that if OHA estimates that the program could result in substantial cost savings for Oregonians, then the authority will be required to seek federal approval to implement the program. 

Dialysis

Rep. Andrea Salinas, Chair of the House Committee on Health Care, is sponsoring a bill that would require payments to outpatient renal dialysis facilities be capped at the Medicare rate established by CMS. The bill would prohibit insurers from denying reimbursement for renal dialysis for enrollees diagnosed with end stage renal disease, and would cap enrollees’ out-of-pocket costs for dialysis at 10% of the insurer’s allowable charge.