Happy Election Day from the Charge Capture Blog!
This glorious Tuesday reminds us of that we have an impact on what happens in our local and national communities. There has been speculation that voter participation in this election will be dismal, with many voters refusing to vote and others overcome by complacency (Stephen Colbert named his election coverage, “Midterms ‘014: Detour to Gridlock: An Exciting Thing That I Am Totally Interested In—Wait! Don’t Change the Channel. Look at this Video of a Duckling Following a Cat Dressed Like a Shark Riding a Roomba! ‘014!”).
Yet like any election, there are important and consequential measures on the state ballots, many of which contain health care related issues. Here are 10 health care measures on the ballots this midterm election. Many will surprise you, some will sadden you, and others will compel you run to the polls today to vote.
1. Arizona: Proposition 303 - Terminal Patients’ Right to Try. Allows terminally ill patients access to medical treatments (investigational drugs, biological products or devices) which have completed phase one of a clinical trial but are not yet approved by FDA and remain under investigation in clinical trials.
2. California: Proposition 45 - Health Insurance Regulation. Would required approval by the California Insurance Commissioner for changes in health insurance rates or anything else affecting the charges associated with health insurance. The measure provides for public notice, disclosure, and hearing on health insurance rate changes, and subsequent judicial review.
3. California: Proposition 46 - Medical Malpractice Increase & Drug Testing. Increases the state’s cap on damages that can be assessed in medical negligence lawsuits from $250,000 to over $1 million. The measure would also require drug and alcohol testing of doctors and the reporting of positive tests to the California Medical Board. Health care practitioners would be required to report any doctor suspected of drug or alcohol impairment or medical negligence.
4. Florida: Amendment 2 - Legalization of Medical Marijuana. Grants qualifying patients the right to use marijuana for the treatment of certain ailments when recommended by a physician. Licensed physicians are not subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions for issuing medical marijuana to a person diagnosed with a “debilitating medical condition” under state law. *The measure defines a "debilitating medical condition" as cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, hepatitis C, HIV, AIDS, ALS, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease "or other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient."
5. Illinois: “Birth Control in Prescription Drug Coverage Question” - Prescription Birth Control Coverage. Requires that any health insurance plan that provides prescription drug coverage to also include prescription birth control as part of that coverage.
6. Louisiana: Amendment 1 - Constitutional protection to the Medical Assistance Trust Fund. Forbids the legislature from taking federal money from the trust fund to use for other health care purposes. Funds would be used solely to compensate health care facilities who provide care to low-income patients and pay the trust fund provider fees. The measure would also set a baseline compensation rate for nursing homes, pharmacies, and intermediate-care facilities that pay provider fees.
7. Louisiana: Amendment 2 - Hospital Stabilization Fund. Creates a Hospital Stabilization Fund into which hospitals could deposit money in order to collect more federal Medicaid matching funds for health care services reimbursements. The legislature would determine the assessment fee on eligible hospitals.
8. North Dakota: Measure 1 - Abortion Amendment. Amends the state constitution to declare that life begins at conception. North Dakota would be the first state to define life as beginning at conception if this measure is approved by voters. The amendment could affect access to birth control, in vitro fertilization, and abortion.
9. South Dakota: Initiated Measure 17 - Expand Health Insurance Provider Network. Ends the restrictions put in place by health insurance companies regarding which health care providers their clients can and cannot see. The measure would allow any willing and qualified health care provider to join an insurance company’s network, assuming the provider agrees to the company’s terms and conditions and works within the company’s coverage area.
10. Tennessee: Amendment 1 - Abortion Language Amendment. Adds language to the state’s constitution granting the legislature the ability to enact, amend, or repeal state statutes regarding abortion, including pregnancies resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to protect the mother’s life.