Prior to the November election, the AASM reported on several health care measures on state ballots which could affect your practice. Here are the results of those measures:
Prescription Drug Prices
In California, voters defeated Proposition 61, the Drug Price Standards Initiative. The measure would have reined in ballooning drug prices in California by prohibiting state agencies from paying more for prescription medications than the lowest price paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Proposition 61 drew the most spending of California’s ballot initiatives with the pharmaceutical industry shelling out nearly $110 million to defeat it. Supporters of Proposition 61 said that it would cut the cost of prescription drugs, which meant reimbursement rates for sleep aids could be affected.
Single-Payer Health Care System
In Colorado, voters in Colorado decided against Amendment 69, which would have replaced most private health insurance with a state-run, single-payer system called ColoradoCare. Results showed an overwhelming defeat for Amendment 69.
Supporters of Amendment 69 said it would have cut health care costs by eliminating insurance company profits and reducing overhead expenses. However, the language of Amendment 69 would have required every health care provider within the state to enter into a contract with ColoradoCare, which promised to reimburse providers at a rate “competitive with other states” when there are no comparable states at the present time.
The Colorado Hospital Association released an opposition paper arguing that the state-run system would have reimbursed providers less than private insurers and that its members already lose money caring for Medicaid beneficiaries due to low reimbursement rates.
Voters in California, Massachusetts and Nevada approved recreational marijuana initiatives, and several other states passed medical marijuana provisions, giving a huge boost to the campaign to legalize marijuana nationwide. In addition to the states above, supporters in Maine are declaring victory for that state’s legalization measure, but with 91 percent of precincts reporting just a few thousand votes separate the “Yes” and “No” columns. However, a similar legalization measure in Arizona did not gain sufficient support to pass, with 52 percent of voters rejecting it.
On the medical side, voters in Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas have approved medical marijuana initiatives. Voters in in Montana also rolled back restrictions on an existing medical pot law. Florida, where the pot measure was backed by 71 percent of the voters, and Arkansas became the first states in the south with full-scale medical marijuana programs, which exist in 25 other states.