News: WALHDAB News

September Legislative Update

Wednesday, September 23, 2015  
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As you know, WALHDAB has been very active in the State Capitol over the last several weeks on two bills dealing with family planning services: 

  • AB 310 - Under the bill, the WI Department of Health Services (DHS) would take control of Federal Title X funding allocated to the state. Currently, the sole grantee for Title X funding in Wisconsin is Planned Parenthood, which receives more than $3 million annually from Title X. AB 310 would require DHS to apply for Title X grant funds and to subsequently distribute the funds, giving first priority to the Wisconsin Well−Woman Program and to public entities, including state, county, and local health departments and health clinics. No entity that provides abortion services or makes referrals for abortion services can receive Title X funding under the bill.
  • AB 311 - Under the bill, entities providing family planning services and those operating STD clinics (including Local Health Departments) that acquire drugs at discounted rates through the Medicaid 340B program would be required to bill Medicaid at the actual acquisition cost plus a reasonable dispensing fee.

NOTE: There are also identical Senate versions of both bills -- SB 237 and SB 238.

Assembly Bill 310 will be voted on by the full Assembly tomorrow (Sept. 24) and is expected to pass. The full Senate will probably take up -- and likely pass -- the bill in late October. WALHDAB is officially neutral on the bill to allow the organization to more effectively work on an amendment to AB 311.

WALHDAB is currently opposed to AB 311. The organization is working -- and making very good progress on -- an amendment to exempt Local Health Departments (LHD) from the provision of the bill. If WALHDAB is successful in amending the bill, the organization will change it's official position to neutral.

The full Assembly will NOT be voting on AB 311 tomorrow, and according to conversations WALHDAB's lobbying team has had with legislative offices, the bill is unlikely to even be debated by the full Assembly unless it includes the LHD carve-out amendment.

Over in the Senate, the Senate Health Committee held a hearing on the bill yesterday (Sept. 22). WALHDAB registered against the bill at the hearing. It's less certain what will happen with the bill in the Senate, but the WALHDAB lobbying team is currently meeting with key Senate offices to advocate for the LHD carve out amendment. If the full Senate does eventually take up the bill for a vote, it won't occur until late October at the earliest.

In the meantime, it's critically important for WALHDAB members to continue to contact their legislators on AB 311(and it's Senate companion bill SB 238) and urge them to support the LHD carve-out amendment. Remember, WALHDAB can only be successful with a strong, consistent message into the State Capitol.

*Written by WALHDAB Lobbyist, Michael Welsh

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