State Rep. Mary Whiteford, of Casco Township, has introduced a bipartisan plan to improve the quality of health care in Michigan while making it more accessible and affordable.
Whiteford, who chairs the House Health and Human Services budget subcommittee, said the plan focuses on three main goals: Lowering the cost of prescription medicine, increasing access to care and providing a higher standard of care.
“People shouldn’t have to choose between health care and putting food on the table,” said Whiteford, a registered nurse. “Lowering the cost of prescription medicine and increasing access to healthcare is always my priority.”
Whiteford’s bill in the package expands the scope of practice for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists to improve patient access to safe anesthesia services.
Among the many other proposed solutions are reforms to cap out-of-pocket costs for insulin, put a check on unregulated prescription middlemen who manipulate drug prices and pad their pockets with money instead of passing along savings to consumers, and hold drug companies accountable to the patients who are driving their record profits by requiring manufacturers to submit details on how their drugs are priced.
“I’ve heard from diabetics across Allegan County who desperately need insulin but can’t afford the astronomical prices here in Michigan,” Whiteford said. “Many people ration their medicine or even travel to Canada to purchase the life-saving drugs they need. They shouldn’t have to do that, and this plan will ensure they no longer have to.”
Another piece of the plan ensures access to life-saving treatments like oral chemotherapy. Intravenous chemotherapy drugs are typically covered under a health plan’s medical benefit, but oral drugs are usually covered under a health plan’s pharmacy benefit, resulting in higher upfront costs for patients at the counter.
Whiteford said the plan ensures Michigan patients aren’t forced to pay a higher co-pay, deductible or co-insurance to access oral chemo, which is a less invasive therapy they can use in the comfort of their own homes.
A full list of proposed reforms included in the plan is available here.
State Rep. Mary Whiteford, chair of the House Health and Human Services Budget Subcommittee, today announced the launch of the Michigan Crisis and Action Line, with the rollout beginning in Oakland County and the Upper Peninsula. Whiteford introduced the legislation that created the hotline and has overseen its development for years.
Rep. Whiteford talks about her new, bi-partisan legislation, that she will co-sponsor with Dearborn Democrat Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, that will ban the billboard advertising of marijuana products. Rep. Whiteford says a similar ban on billboard tobacco advertising has been in place for decades.
Rep. Whiteford, who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee building the $31 billion budget for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for the 2022 Fiscal Year, says the spending plan is seeing a significant infusion of federal dollars while continuing to serve as the state’s safety net.
Rep. Whiteford talks about passage this week of House Bill 4359, which expands the scope of practice for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists to improve patient access to safe anesthesia services. The legislation was part of a bipartisan package of health care reform legislation.