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The Michigan legislature heads into a lame duck session with a shorter agenda than usual. At the end of a legislative cycle and after the November election, Lame Duck sessions give a chance for legislators to push through personal priorities usually before they have to leave office or before a significant change in political power to come in January. When the legislature adjourns at the end of December, every bill that hasn’t passed will need to be reintroduced in 2021 to start over again. This year, with the Senate and Governor not up for election, and the House returning with the same Republican majority, there is more emphasis on what needs to be done and not what simply can get votes.
The Governor has publicly asked for a $100mil COVID package to help communities and small businesses. Both legislative chambers have teed up long committee and session agendas to try and advance bills to meet procedural timelines in order to keep the issues alive. Additionally, its customary for the Appropriations Committees to approve end of year transfers and book closing for various state departments as well.
Already some major health care issues on which MAHU has been advising legislators have no path forward for passage at this time. SB 612 that would reform prior authorization and step therapy protocols for commercial health insurance will not receive a vote in the Senate this week and the sponsor Sen. Kurt Vanderwall has committed to reintroducing the legislation next year. A large package of bills HB 5937, 5938, 5944 and 5945 that create more transparency for pharmaceutical pricing, pharmacy benefit managers, co-pay accumulators and hospital charges also failed to receive a vote in the House Ways & Means Committee meaning it will likely fall by the wayside. The main sponsor, Republican Hank Vaupel, is term limited but there will be versions of these bills reintroduced next year. HB 1126 that allows for claims data for commercial groups over 100 to be transparent for competitive bidding never passed the Senate Insurance Committee and Sen. Dan Lauwers, the bill sponsor, has committed to reintroduction.
MAHU will continue to monitor any impactful legislation through the end of this legislative session.