House State Agencies
Feb. 22, 2022
Tosh Committee members, we’re going to– the agenda is going to change a little bit. I don’t think the sponsors for SB 85 and SB 86 are in room, so we’re going to move down to Senate Bill 87. Senator Rice. While Senator Rice is taking his, taking the chair at the end of the table, if there’s anyone in the room that would like to speak for or against any of these bills, then I’ll, I’ll check– I’ll announce that at some point in, in this process. And if you want to speak for or against it, you’ll be allowed to do so. Just stand up and wave at me and I’ll recognize you at that time. I think there’s a sign up sheet outside the door. But either way, we’ll make sure you get acknowledged and get the opportunity. So, Senator Rice, you are recognized to present Senate Bill 87.
Rice Thank you, Mr. Chair. Sen. Terry Rice, District 9. And my colleague from the House, Representative Dotson and I, both along with Rep. Wardlaw Senator Hickey, EBD and our consultants and all have worked on these bills and you’ve already heard some. But this has been almost a year going and it touches every point in the state. So everybody’s got an interest in this, as EBD was having to have some changes to get a solid foundation for the program. And we look forward to the improvements that everybody’s worked so hard for. On SB 87, the coverage for diagnosis and treatment of morbid obesity, including bariatric surgery– I’ll just say quickly that my thoughts on this has changed over time. Again, we’re talking about this in the financial form, but I have had family members and seen changes that it had helped. One thing that we have had in the testimony from our consultant and others that shows that the data shows that correct diagnosis shows that there’s a 35 to 45 percent savings if done correctly. It is a great help for a diabetes cure and for those with certain heart disease. One of the physicians says that he can cure diabetes about 60 percent of the time. One thing on this, as far as the financial part, that we realized when we had the pilot program that opened up at like midnight and 10 minutes later it was filled up to spend $3 million. Testimony also showed that the right people weren’t always getting into the right program. And while many people could use bariatric surgery now, they may not have been the best candidates for that, even though there may have been a need for it. But for long term health, it is proven out to be a great asset. So be glad to take any questions if I can answer any. And if not, I’d appreciate a good vote. And my colleague does have a closing.
Tosh Committee members, any questions for Senator Rice on Senate Bill 87? Would anyone in the audience like to speak for or against this bill? Seeing none, Senator Rice or Representative Dotson, y’all ready to close for your bill, Senate Bill 87?
Dotson I think we’re closed andI just make motion do pass.
Tosh OK, we have a motion of do pass. Any discussion on the motion? Seeing none, all in favor say aye. All opposed say no. Congratulations, your bill has passed. While you’re at the table, you’re recognized to present Senate bill 88.
Rice Thank you, Mr. Chair and Committee. On Senate Bill 88, modification of state contribution to the state, public school life and health insurance program. Just simply removes the cap. Other bills that are in this group set the controls. This allows the health index CPI to be looked at. This again goes through the governing boards that I think has been described to you before that’s set up for the public employees and their school employees, then the Board of Finance and Legislative Council has overview. And this saves also having to change statute every year. Be glad to answer any questions.
Tosh Any questions from committee members? Seeing none, is there anyone in the audience that would like to speak for or against this bill? Seeing none, Senator Rice, you or Rep. Wardlaw, you’re recognized to close for your bill.
Rice I’m closed, and my co-chair says he doesn’t have anything to say.
Tosh Sen. Rice is closed for the bill. What’s the pleasure of the committee? Do I have motion? I have a motion for do pass. Any discussion on the motion? Seeing none, all in favor, say aye. All opposed say no. Congratulations, your bill has passed.
Rice Thank you, Mr. Chair and Committee.
Tosh Thank you. The next item on today’s agenda will beSenate Bill 85. Senator Irvin. Senator Irvin, you’re recognized to present Senate Bill 85.
Irvin Thank you, Mr. Chair. Senate Bill 85 is another bill that’s part of the package that’s before you to deal with the state employees and public school employees health benefit, health benefit plans and changes. What this bill does, Senate bill 85, is it declares the eligibility for inactive retirees and modifies the eligibility of retirees to participate in these programs. And that’s really all the bill does. It’s really just to define the eligibility requirements for retirees to participate in these plans. We’ll be happy to answer any questions.
Tosh Any questions from committee members? Seeing none, is there anyone in the audience who would like to speak for or against this bill? Seeing none, Senator, you’re recognized to close for your bill.
Irvin Members, I just want to thank the team of people. So really, I think there’s a lot of work that’s been done by the executive subcommittee and the members that are either on that committee and others. But there’s kind of been a team of us and it was a team approach that we took when we looked at these legislation and these bills. And just really, you know, I want to thank Senator Hickey and Senator Rice and Rep. Wardlaw and Speaker Shepherd for their leadership and their tremendous amount of work on these bills, along with EBD and Jake Bleed. It’s something that should be stated and recognized because they did a lot of work. And you know, there were a few of us that really helped and dug in, but I’m grateful that we have folks that are digging in and doing the hard work down here. With that, I’m closed.
Tosh Senator, thank you for those comments. The senator has closed. We have a motion from Rep. Meeks for a do pass. Any discussion on the motion? Seeing none, all in favor say aye. All opposed say no. Congratulations, your bill has passed. The final item on today’s agenda, committee members, will be Senate Bill 86. Senator Hickey, you’re recognized to present Senate Bill 86.
Hickey Thank you, Mr. Chair. On this particular bill, what this is, I know you all have heard this over and over again, but what I like to do is refer to it as the bill which forces the conversation regarding EBD’s financial snapshot annually with the Legislature, EBD and all of the stakeholders. The way we have done this is to require EBD to maintain certain reserve balances and report those to the Legislature through ALC on an annual basis. The Legislature will then have multiple options available to us to, you know, to see where that, where that falls. In setting this up, we worked with Segal, the consultant you all hired, to arrive at what type of reserves would be deemed sufficient. The range on those reserves is supposed to be between 12 and 16 percent, with 14 percent being optimal. No less than 12 percent is acceptable, but requires an action plan to get back to the optimal level. And below 12 percent requires EBD to notify ALC of the need for additional funding. ALC will review, as you can see on Page 3, line 1726, and can recommend that the governor call us in for a special session to address, take further action, or not at all. If the Legislature fails to act, then EBD, then EBD director is required to initiate a process to collect the needed funds through employee premium, premium increases, reducing benefits or both. I’ll attempt to answer any questions if I need to, sir.
Tosh Any questions from committee members? Anyone in the audience would like to speak for or against this bill? Seeing none, Senator Hickey, you’re recognized to close for your bill.
Wardlaw Thank you, Mr. Chair. We’re closed for the bill and I’d make a motion do pass.
Tosh They’ve closed for the bill. I have a motion for do pass. Any discussion on the motion? Seeing none, all in favor say aye. All opposed say no. Congratulations, the bill has passed. Committee members, that takes care of our business for today. Just keep watch on the calendar. We may have other bills sent to this committee. And if there’s no further business today, this meeting is adjourned.