Lawmakers build a health-related Christmas tree to save bills in waning hours of Day 28

03/12/2013 06:53 PM

Lawmakers shifted into full horse trading mode Tuesday night as they attached seven health care-related bills to House Bill 366 aimed at identifying congenital heart disease in newborns.

The omnibus health bill at one point had 10 additional measures hung on it like a Christmas tree before the free conference committee of House and Senate members Tuesday night.

“You have to know what you can pass and what you can’t,” said Rep. Jimmie Lee, D-Elizabethtown.

After a meeting shortly before 8 p.m., the conference committee created the “healthy Christmas tree” starting with House Bill 123, which would create a program within the Commission of Women to keep confidential the addresses of women who are crime victims.

“If I don’t get 123, it’s going to hang on that board until hell freezes over,” said Burch, who chairs the House Health and Welfare Committee. “I’ve worked on (HB123) for almost a year.”

His counterpart in the Senate, Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, said that bill was the only one she had “heard push-back about” in the Senate mostly because it got stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee and hadn’t had a hearing.

“If that’s the will of the chairman, I’m going to go back and fight for that,” Denton said in a moment of goodwill between two committee chairs who had a rocky relationship at certain points earlier in the session.

The group then pared back the list of bills. Still included on the “healthy Christmas tree” bill were:

  • House Bill 187, which Lee said would save millions of dollars in the free prescription drug program for underinsured Kentuckians.
  • House Bill 79, which would exempt licensed health care providers from being disciplined for prescribing naloxone for an opioid overdose.
  • House Bill 387, which would provide nutritional supplements for low birth weight newborns.
  • Senate Bill 201 regarding licensed diabetes educators.
  • Senate Bill 38 that requires Medicaid to accept provider credentialing by a Medicaid managed care organization.
  • Senate Bill 108 that would require the state Medicaid Department or a managed care company it hired to contract directly with the IMPACT Plus program, a behavioral health program for children.

The committee planned to take up the final version of the agreed-upon bill again at 9:15 p.m.


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