House Republican Caucus Discusses 2012 Health Care Legislation

HouseGOP2012 General Assembly Session

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RICHMOND, VA – This morning the House Republican Caucus held their weekly Policy Work Group press conference.  Various health care initiatives introduced and supported by the House were discussed.  Following the press conference, the Policy Work Group issued the following statement:“The 2012 General Assembly session has produced several positive pieces of health care legislation that will improve coverage and quality of care for all Virginians,” said Delegate Chris Peace (R-Hanover), host of the weekly Republican press conference.  “For women, children, the sick and the disabled, these measures improve access to medical resources and information and will meaningfully improve patient care in the Commonwealth.  With that motivation in mind, I offered House Bill 1273, which requires insurance companies and HMOs to offer coverage in their plans for oral chemotherapy treatment,” said Peace. 

Delegate Dr. John O’Bannon (R-Henrico) introduced House Bill 343, which creates the Virginia All-Payer Claims Database system.  “The All-Payer Claims Database requires insurance companies, pharmacists, hospitals and various other medical professionals to collect information regarding patient care, diagnosis and treatment.  This database is a user-friendly tool intended to increase transparency, inform the patient and improve accountability in the medical community,” said Dr. O’Bannon.  The All-Payer Claims Database passed the House of Delegates on February 14 and is currently before the Senate.

Following the tragic death of a seven year-old in Chesterfield this year, several members of the House Republican Caucus have worked on legislation that would improve access to epinephrine in public schools.  Ammaria Johnson suffered a severe allergy-induced anaphylactic reaction while at school in January and died shortly thereafter.  “One in thirteen children suffer from a food allergy in the United States.  House Bill 1107 requires schools to maintain a supply of emergency epinephrine for students who have forgotten their epi-pens or who are unaware they have a food allergy,” said Delegate Roxann Robinson (R-Chesterfield).  “I want to thank Delegate Tag Greason and Delegate Peter Farrell for their work on this issue and hope that this legislation will improve school safety for children with severe allergies.”

Chairman of the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions, Delegate Bobby Orrock (R-Caroline) introduced legislation that requires health care service providers performing mammograms to disclose breast density information to patients.  “One in eight women in the United States will suffer from breast cancer in their lifetime.  At present, mammograms include breast density information but the patient is not always given this information,” said Orrock.  “Breast density is important information for women to have as it gives a fuller understanding of the results of a standard mammogram and can also be useful for preventive screenings and care.  House Bill 83 gives women this additional information improves their understanding of the results of a mammogram and helps guide future preventive efforts,” he continued.

Delegate Riley Ingram (R-Hopewell) discussed health care improvements included in the House budget for Fiscal Years 2012-14.  “The House budget includes several important health care initiatives and makes restoring the health care safety net a particular priority,” said Ingram, who serves as Chairman of the Appropriations Sub-Committee on Health and Human Resources.  “To help care for some of Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens, the House budget include over $6 million to restore funding for locally run free clinics, health care centers and dental service centers that service the uninsured in Virginia.  The House budget includes a further $1.3 million to support elderly citizens in need of community-based care and related support services,” said Ingram. 

“Perhaps the most important investment in Virginia’s health care safety net this year comes through increased intellectual disability and development disability waiver slots.  Following last year’s $30 million investment in the Behavioral Health and Developmental Services Trust Fund, we have included a further 970 ID waiver slots and 100 DD waiver slots in the House budget this biennium.  Not only does this investment bring the Commonwealth into compliance with the Department of Justice settlement, but it will provide a higher quality of care in the optimal setting for individuals in need around the Commonwealth,” Ingram continued.

The House Republican Caucus Policy Work Group will hold a press conference each Monday at 11:00 am.

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