Bills to improve health care in PA
12/9/2019
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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
 
Helping You Save Money on Prescriptions

Seeking to increase transparency in prescription drug pricing, the House approved some long-overdue legislation to ensure pharmacists would be permitted to disclose cost-related information to patients.

For some less expensive, generic medicines, co-pays can often be more expensive than if the patient simply pays out-of-pocket and bypasses insurance. However, companies that manage prescription drug benefits on behalf of health insurers often include in their contracts a “gag clause” that prevents pharmacists from sharing this information with their customers.

House Bill 943 would put an end to the use of a gag clause and ensure pharmacists are empowered to help their customers by sharing information that could save them money on their out-of-pocket costs for medications, not to mention their overall health care.

The measure was approved unanimously as part of the House #HealthierPA package of bills.
 
 
Putting PA on the Path to Better Health
 
With the goal of building a #HealthierPA, I was pleased to join my fellow lawmakers in supporting several bills designed to remove barriers to treatment and better assess behavioral health and other needs.

When dealing with cancer, time is of the essence. We passed the Fair Access to Treatment Act (House Bill 427) to give Stage IV cancer patients easier access to alternative, innovative treatment options. Under current law, patients have to first fail on one FDA-approved drug consistent with best practices for Stage IV metastatic cancer treatment before another would be covered by their insurance.

To help people in need of addiction treatment, House Bill 1024 would prohibit facilities from denying treatment to an individual based solely on a negative drug test.

To better understand our capacity to address behavioral health needs, House Resolution 268 would direct the Joint State Government Commission to study the impact of behavioral health treatment needs and behavioral health care system capacity on hospital emergency departments and patient health.

Finally, House Bill 1662 would require suboxone/buprenorphine-related deaths to be included in the Medication Death and Incident Review Act so any deeper issues can be addressed, such as a pill-pushing doctor or treatment facility.

Each of these bills is pending action in the Senate. Learn more about our #HealthierPA initiative here.
 
 
Town Hall Meeting on Newberry Township Water Quality Issues


I am hosting a follow-up meeting to the one I held in June on water quality issues in Newberry Township. This latest meeting will be held at the Newberry Elementary School, 2055 Old Trail Road, Etters, on Thursday, Dec. 12, from 6-8 p.m. If you live in an area of Newberry Township that is impacted, please attend this meeting.

During this informational meeting, geared toward Newberry Township residents who have water quality concerns, representatives from the state Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Health and SUEZ Water will be on hand to discuss the issue and provide an update to residents.
 
 
Protecting Elections

Legislation that will address some of the privacy issues in the recent municipal election has been signed into law.

House Bill 227 eliminates the use of stubs on paper election ballots and requires the ballots statewide to be printed on white paper of uniform quality and with sufficient thickness to prevent the printed matter from showing through.

The new law also requires the Commonwealth's Secretary of State to establish privacy standards for each polling place and furnish each county's board of elections with supplies that allow voters to insert their paper ballot into the district automatic tabulating equipment in secret.
 
 
Protect Your Personal, Financial Data

In recognition of National Tax Security Awareness Week, the state Department of Revenue outlined several tips to help protect yourself from identity thieves:

  •   Shop at websites where the web address begins “https” – the “s” is for secure communications.
  •   Don’t shop on unsecured public Wi-Fi in malls or hotels, where thieves can tap in.
  •   Secure your home Wi-Fi with a password.
  •   Use security software for computers and mobile phones; keep it updated.
  •   Protect your personal information; don’t hand it out to just anyone.
  •   Use strong and unique passwords for your accounts.
  •   Use two-factor authentication whenever possible.
  •   Back up your files on computers and mobile phones.

You should also be on the lookout for “phishing” scams in your email. Identity thieves sometimes pose as companies or government agencies you know, such as the IRS or state Department of Revenue. Other phishing emails may tell an urgent story to trick you into opening a link or attachment that ultimately adds a virus or spyware onto your computer.

Finally, the IRS or Department of Revenue will never call to demand a tax payment on a gift card.

If you are a victim of identity theft or discover a fraudulent Pennsylvania personal income tax return was filed using your identity, please contact the Department of Revenue’s Fraud Detection and Analysis Unit at 717-772-9297 or RA-RVPITFRAUD@pa.gov.

For more information on ways to protect yourself, click here.
 
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Email Address: DKeefer@pahousegop.com