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Budget Measure Includes Sales Tax Hike & Additional Medicaid Funding

Diabetes Health Care Coverage Proposed

Legislative Update May 2003
Kelly Vyzral, Director of Government Affairs

House Sends Budget Measure to Senate with Sales Tax Hike; Additional Medicaid Funding

A temporary one-cent sales tax hike serves as the extra fuel for a biennium state spending plan (HB 95) that emerged from the Ohio House of Representatives on Wednesday, April 9, markedly different from the package proposed by Governor Bob Taft last winter. The House budget allows for the issue of video lottery terminals to be placed on the ballot. The sales tax would be repealed if voters go along with a video lottery terminal plan.

Several areas of interest to pharmacists include:
- the reinstatement of the increase in Medicaid reimbursements to nursing homes, and restored optional Medicaid services for podiatry, dental care and vision services;
- the addition of language which would allow the Department of Job and Family Services to establish the Medication Management Incentive Program for state fiscal years 2004 and 2005 to reimburse participating pharmacy providers that reduce pharmacy costs by providing consulting services;
- the elimination of administrative funding for the beleaguered Golden Buckeye Card prescription drug discount program.

The measure will now go to the Senate, which was scheduled to begin debate on the bill April 22. OPA will continue to keep you updated on any changes to pharmacy in this ongoing process.

HB 146/SB 61: Diabetes Health Care Coverage

Two bills that would require benefits for diabetes equipment, supplies, medication, and self-management education to be included in health care coverage were introduced recently. HB 146 is sponsored by Rep. Michelle Schneider. It was assigned to the House Health Committee and has already had sponsor testimony. The companion bill in the Senate, SB 61 sponsored by Sen. Jeffry Armbruster, has not been assigned to committee yet. Both bills have broad bipartisan support.

HB 142/SB 60: Meningitis Vaccine

Two bills were recently introduced that will educate college students about the importance of being vaccinated against meningitis. HB 142 is sponsored by Rep. John Hagan (R-Alliance), and SB 60 is sponsored by Sen. Jeffry Armbruster (R-North Ridgeville). The bills require that colleges and universities require students living in on-campus housing to be vaccinated for meningitis or obtain a waiver of the vaccination requirement. Information from the Department of Health?s website about meningitis and meningitis vaccines, as well as a waiver form, will be provided to students who apply for on-campus housing. While the vaccine requirement is voluntary, the college or university is prohibited from providing on-campus student housing to any student who has not provided either written proof of vaccination, or a signed vaccination waiver form.

SB 281: Medical Malpractice

Governor Bob Taft signed SB 281, the medical malpractice legislation, into law on January 11, 2003. The bill took effect on April 11, 2003. The success of this legislation was a direct result of the efforts of the health care provider community who came out in force and let their legislators know how important this bill was to the future of healthcare in Ohio. This is proof that when we speak with one voice we can accomplish great things.

Important Committees to Watch

A list of important committees and committee members follows for your information. If you know any of these legislators personally, call or e-mail OPA lobbyist Kelly Vyvral at 614.798.0037 or kvyzral@ohiopharmacists.org or for your convenience you may $$Link,AWS_SSL:DisplayInputForm&FormID=18,CLICK HERE$$ to submit your legislative contact information securely on-line.
Most of the issues that are important to pharmacists will be assigned to one of these committees. We felt this list would be a good resource for communicating with legislators when a pharmacy issue comes before the General Assembly.

House members can be contacted at:
77 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215
www.house.state.oh.us

Senate members can be contacted at:
Senate Office Building, Columbus,
Ohio 43215-4276
www.senate.state.oh.us

Senate Health, Human Services and Aging
Lynn Wachtmann- (R-Napoleon), Chair
Jeff Jacobson- (R-Brookville)
Jeffry Armbruster- (R-North Ridgeville)
Louis Blessing- (R-Cincinnati)
David Goodman- (R-Columbus)
Randy Gardner- (R-Bowling Green)
Jim Jordan- (R-Urbana)
Dan Brady- (D-Cleveland), Ranking Member
Robert Hagan- (D-Youngstown)
Ray Miller- (D- Columbus)
Scott Nein- (R-Middletown)
C.J. Prentiss- (D-Cleveland)

Senate Insurance, Commerce, and Labor
Scott Nein- (R-Middletown), Chair
Jeffry Armbruster- (R-North Ridgeville)
Steve Austria- (R-Beavercreek)
Jay Hottinger- (R-Newark)
Larry Mumper- (R-Marion)
Robert Spada- (R-Parma Heights)
Ray Miller- (D-Columbus), Ranking Member
Teresa Fedor- (D-Toledo)
C.J. Prentiss- (D-Cleveland)
Lynn Wachtmann- (R-Napoleon)

House Health
Greg Jolivette- (R- Hamilton), Chair
John White- (R-Kettering)
Chuck Blasdel- (R-E. Liverpool)
Diana Fessler- (R-New Carlisle)
Geoff Smith- (R-Columbus)
Nancy Hollister- (R-Marietta)
Jim Hoops- (R-Napoleon)
Merle Grace Kearns- (R-Springfield)
Lynn Olman- (R-Maumee)
Linda Reidelbach- (R-Columbus)
Michelle Schneider- (R-Cincinnati)
Mary Taylor- (R-Uniontown)
Bryan Williams- (R-Akron)
Shirley Smith- (D-Cleveland), Ranking Member
Catherine Barrett- (D-Cincinnati)
Joyce Beatty- (D-Columbus)
Mary Cirelli- (D-Canton)
Michael DeBose- (D-Cleveland)
Sandra Harwood- (D-Niles)
Ed Jerse- (D-Euclid)
Tyrone Yates- (D-Cincinnati)

Human Services and Aging
Michelle Schneider- (R-Cincinnati), Chair
Diana Fessler- (R-New Carlisle)
Larry Flowers- (R-Canal Winchester)
John Hagan- (R-Alliance)
Scott Oelslager- (R-Canton)
Tom Raga- (R-Mason)
Jim Raussen- (R-Cincinnati)
Linda Reidelbach- (R-Columbus)
Jean Schmidt- (R-Loveland)
Shawn Webster- (R-Hamilton)
John White- (R-Kettering)
Edna Brown- (D-Toledo)
Mary Cirelli- (D- Canton)
Joe Koziura- (D-Lorain)
Bob Otterman- (D-Akron)
Jeanine Perry- (D-Toledo)
Larry Price- (D-Columbus)
Sylvester Patton- (D-Strongsville)

Insurance
Geoff Smith- (R-Columbus), Chair
Jim Raussen- (R-Cincinnati)
Chuck Blasdel- (R-East Liverpool)
Gary Cates- (R-West Chester)
Dave Evans- (R-Newark)
David Daniels- (R-Greenfield)
Keith Faber- (R-Celina)
Diana Fessler- (R-New Carlisle)
Bob Gibbs- (R-Lakeville)
Jim Hughes- (R-Columbus)
Lynn Olman- (R-Maumee)
Arlene Setzer- (R-Vandalia)
Tom Patton- (R-Strongsville)
John White- (R-Kettering)
Larry Wolpert- (R-Hilliard)
Joe Koziura- (D-Lorain), Ranking Member
Catherine Barrett- (D-Cincinnati)
Todd Book- (D-McDermott)
Edna Brown- (D-Toledo)
Steve Driehaus- (D-Cincinnati)
Derrick Seaver- (D-Minster)
Dan Sferra- (D-Warren)
Claudette Woodard- (D-Cleveland Heights)

What is the Ohio Pharmacy PAC?
The Pharmacy Political Action Committee is a voluntary, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of pharmacists who are interested in promoting good government and public health. Pharmacy PAC money contributed by pharmacists goes to help candidates who support pharmacy in Ohio. That's right, your money is used to support political clout for Pharmacy ? right here in Ohio!

To make a secure online donation to the Ohio Pharmacy PAC, $$Link,AWS_SSL:DisplayInputForm&FormID=37, CLICK HERE!$$

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