With the goal of building a #HealthierPA, Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-89, said he is supporting several bills designed to remove barriers to treatment and better assess behavioral health and other needs.
“When dealing with cancer, time is of the essence,” the Franklin County Republican said.
The House has passed the Fair Access to Treatment Act House Bill 427. It gives Stage IV cancer patients easier access to alternative, innovative treatment options.
Currently, one FDA-approved drug consistent with best practices for Stage IV metastatic cancer treatment has to fail before another is covered by insurance. The new bill addresses that issue.
To help people in need of addiction treatment, House Bill 1024 prohibits facilities from denying treatment to an individual based solely on a negative drug test.
House Resolution 268 tackles the impact of behavioral health treatment needs and the health care system capacity on hospital emergency departments and patient health.
Suboxone and buprenorphine-related deaths have to be included in the Medication Death and Incident Review Act under House Bill 1662. Kauffman said the bill helps address deeper issues, such as a pill-pushing doctor or treatment facility.
Each of these bills is pending action in the Senate.
Prescription Pricing Transparency
Seeking to increase transparency in prescription drug pricing, the House passed legislation to let pharmacists disclose cost-related information to patients.
Kauffman said patient costs for some generic medicines are higher than paying for the medication out-of-pocket. That’s because co-pays are often more expensive than the out-of-pocket expense.
Companies managing prescription drug benefits on behalf of health insurers have found a way to keep that information from consumers. They often include a “gag clause” in contracts to keep pharmacists from sharing this information with customers.
The use of a gag clause is the focus of House Bill 943. The bill lets pharmacists help customers by sharing cast information that could save money on out-of-pocket costs for medications as well as overall health care.
The House approved the bill unanimously as part of the #HealthierPA package of bills.
All of the legislation now goes to the Senate.