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IDA legislation fares poorly in legislature

3/22/2012

The IDA’s 2012 legislative agenda, embodied in what was named “The Fair Dental Care Act” (Senate Bill 303), faced significant opposition from the health insurance community, organized labor, business interests, the State, as well as the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce.

The bill contained language that would have better coordinated patients’ dental benefits and banned dental insurance companies for setting fees for treatments not covered in their policies. The bill also contained assignment of benefit (AOB) language with dental-only parameters.

Early in the legislative session, the Senate Health Committee removed all coordination of benefit language, as well as the dental-only AOB provisions, leaving language regarding non-covered services. The pared-down version of the bill then passed the Senate 48-2. The measure was assigned to the House Insurance Committee and received a hearing. The bill was tabled, and efforts to include the language in conference committees were unsuccessful.

“Our thanks go out to Sen. Vaneta Becker (R-Evansville) and retiring Sen. Beverly Gard (R-Greenfield), who authored SB 303,” said Ed Popcheff, IDA Director of Governmental Affairs. “We also are grateful for Rep. Suzanne Crouch (R-Evansville) who served as the House sponsor.

Right to Work and the Super Bowl

The issue eclipsing all others this legislative session was Gov. Mitch Daniels’ and the House and Senate Republicans’ successful effort to make Indiana a right-to-work state. The issue dominated the first half of the legislative session, as labor unions occupied the Statehouse and House Democrats staged walk-outs. Despite well-organized opposition, Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) made good on his promise to have the issue resolved by the Super Bowl in early February.

Small victories

The Super Bowl effectively delayed this year’s legislative process, but the Indiana General Assembly still managed to pass a statewide smoking ban. Advocates ultimately accepted a high number of exemptions for bars, casinos, and privates clubs, but still banned smoking at charitable gaming events. The General Assembly, out of time to hold out on passing the numerous exemptions, took the cue from Gov. Daniels who said he would sign any smoking ban that made it to his desk; the Senate passed the bill 28-22, and the House passed it 60-33. The issue will likely return next year, as advocates and supporters of smoke-free laws work to eliminate current expemptions.

The IDA was successful in opposing efforts of the Indiana Attorney General’s Office to increase data mining of medicaid claims history in an effort to expand the AG’s existing authority to mine older records for fraudulent claims. The health care lobbying community supported current fraud and abuse protections mandated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), but were uncomfortable expanding the current AG’s investigative jurisdiction.

For more information on how you can help the IDA work toward next year’s legislative session, please contact IDA Director of Governmental Affairs Ed Popcheff at Ed@INDental.org.

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