Sen. Joshua Miller is imploring the Rhode Island House of Representatives to reconvene immediately to consider legislation that would put into state law protections that exist under the federal Affordable Care Act. Existing protections to Rhode Islanders are directly and imminently threatened with the unveiling today of the US Senate’s proposal to replace the ACA.
“The health coverage Rhode Island citizens rely upon is directly threatened by the legislation unveiled today on the federal level. We must ensure that Rhode Islanders remain adequately insured,” said Miller, who is Chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee as well as the Senate Democratic Policy Caucus, which developed the legislation.
“When the House abruptly recessed on the last day of session, it wasn’t only the budget that they left incomplete. They also failed to pass these necessary protections for Rhode Island consumers. With action pending on this issue on the federal level, it is more important than ever that they reconvene and finish their business.”
The legislation, 2017-S-0831A, enacts into state law the current insurance practices that protect consumers under the ACA, such as:
The bill, which passed the Senate on June 14, also establishes a working group to make recommendations on health insurance issues relating to coverage affordability and quality, including how to best use state and federal money and federal waivers to stabilize premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
“Our legislation enacts the Affordable Care Act’s protections that in most instances have been in place since 2010 at the state level, so that no one loses insurance protections if Congress repeals or amends the ACA. It also tells insurers that, here in Rhode Island, access to quality insurance is not going to change, so they know what benefits and coverage they can offer to policyholders. Insurers have to be able to know the parameters to which they’re going to be held in the near future in order to write policies. This bill will protect Rhode Islanders’ health and wallets, no matter what politics play out in Washington.”
The bill, sponsored by members of the Senate Policy Caucus and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio, is designed to provide predictability to insurers, stabilizing the Rhode Island insurance market against the undetermined future of the federal law.
Named the 2017 Market Stabilization and Consumer Protection Act, the bill is cosponsored by Senate President Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence), and the other members of the Policy Caucus, Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton), Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) and Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3. Providence).
Yesterday, Sen. Miller also attended the Governor’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force meeting, at which Governor Raimondo signed an executive order taking steps to address the opioid epidemic. At the meeting, Chairman Miller brought up numerous additional pieces of legislation that would address the opioid crisis but which failed to clear the House. Among those bills are:
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