Lawmakers Announce 2015 Legislative Interim Study Topics

Lawmakers Announce 2015 Legislative Interim Study Topics

Legislative leaders recently convened to set the agenda for the General Assembly's interim study committees.  In addition to the topics listed below, the Academy will be closely monitoring the work of the Interim Study Committee on Courts & Judiciary, which will be reviewing Indiana's Medical Malpractice Act.  Specifically, the Committee will study the Act and "whether the cap on the damages should be increased and any potential changes or improvements to the medical review panel process that may improve and streamline the process."  The General Assembly considered, but did not pass, legislation this year that would have increased the caps on damage awards (HB 1043) and altered the medical review panel process (SB 55).

Interim Study Committee on Public Policy

During the 2015 session, IAFP and other members of the Hoo$1ers for a Healthier Indiana campaign advocated for a one dollar per pack cigarette tax increase (from the current $0.995 tax), but these efforts fell short.  Instead, the General Assembly will study several policy proposals related to smoking, including the fiscal impact of a tobacco tax increase:

  • Whether smoking should be prohibited in bars, casinos and private clubs and the related fiscal impact;
  • Whether e-cigarettes should be defined as tobacco products and subject to smoking bans and if/how they should be taxed;
  • The fiscal impact of an increase in the cigarette tax;
  • Possible funding sources for tobacco use prevention and cessation programs;
  • The impact of the tobacco tax on smoking rates and healthy living ratings relative to other states;
  • The impact of smoking upon families and pregnancy and the related costs incurred by the state; and
  • The fiscal impact of changing existing laws regarding cigarette tax distribution.

Interim Study Committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health and Human Services

The interim study committee tasked with studying health policy will review the following topics this summer:

  • Needle distribution and collection programs as part of a comprehensive response to reducing disease transmission due to intravenous drug use.  The study must include a review of the appropriate criminal penalties for drug offenses and drug paraphernalia related offenses and the use of problem-solving courts. (Source: SEA 461-2015)
  • The report of the Department of Insurance required by HEA 1269-2015, SECTION 31, covering the following:
    • IDOI's consumer complaint process;
    • Current definitions in accident and sickness insurance policies and health maintenance organization contracts for "investigatory", "experimental" or similar terms used for denials of claims;
    • Accident and sickness health insurance and health maintenance organization claim data concerning denials of claims in the previous three calendar years;
    • Review of the denied claims data specific to procedures deemed experimental or investigatory and a comparison of these procedures and whether, with data available, the Medicaid program and the Medicare program consider these procedures to be experimental or investigatory.  (Source: Request from Senator Pat Miller).

You can review the full list of 2015 study committee topics in the Legislative Council's Resolution 15-01

Other topics to be studied

In addition to the interim study committee process, the General Assembly has also mandated the preparation of reports and recommendations by certain state agencies and commissions.  These include:  (1) recommendations from FSSA and stakeholders for statutory changes to the health facility preadmission screening assessment process; (2) a report of data from OMPP on presumptive eligibility in HIP 2.0; and (3) recommendations from the Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana and Indiana State Department of Health concerning policies related to child abandonment and the use of newborn safety incubators (commonly referred to as "baby drop boxes").