Bills that Passed House Health Committee this week:

HB 2608  Overdose Prevention & Harm Reduction – AzPHA Supports

This bill would facilitate evidence best practices that slow the spread of blood-borne pathogens and engage injection drug users in treatment.  It’s currently a felony to provide syringes to injection drug users via a syringe access program even though these programs are evidence-based programs that reduce the spread of Hepatitis C, HIV and other blood-borne pathogens and engage injection drug users in treatment. 

We have supported bills like this for the last several years, but they have yet to be successful.  This Bill got a pass recommendation from the House Health Committee (8-0). On to the Rules Committee then the House floor.

HB2670 Doulas; Voluntary CertificationAzPHA Supports

This bill would establish a voluntary certification process for a person to “practice as a certified community doula.” The ADHS would write the rules and run the program.  There’s good evidence that doulas can improve birth outcomes while reducing delivery costs. Here’s an Issue Brief that provides documentation. This Bill passed the House Health Committee 9-0 on 2/6.

SB1397 Health Insurance; Pre-existing conditions – Neutral 

This bill provides a partial backstop in case the US Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act. It would prohibit health insurers from offering health insurance plans that exclude people with pre- existing conditions from coverage.

It is silent on whether people with pre-existing conditions could be charged higher premiums, which is why we’re neutral on the bill.  We’d like to see it amended so that it includes Community Pricing.  The bill got a pass recommendation from the Senate Finance Committee last week (9-0). Hopefully it’ll eventually be amended to include community pricing.