Health Care: In the area of health care, the Speaker and the Majority Leader have left four vital initiatives hanging in limbo:
1. Senate Bill 1 would require insurance companies to cover mental health problems in the same way they cover other medical conditions. The Senate passed the bill with overwhelming bipartisan support on March 21, by a vote of 23-6. Today, it waits in the House State and Federal Affairs Committee.
2. Senate Bill 329 is one of the most important proposals we've seen to help reduce the cost of health care. It would expand the state's drug purchasing pool to allow private businesses and individuals to save money on prescription drugs. On May 20, it passed the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 19-11. Today, it waits in the House Budget Committee.
3. Senate Bills 756 and 849 enhance women's access to emergency contraceptives, and require insurance companies to cover the cost of prescription contraceptives. These are important bills that affect women's health, but the Republican leadership has chosen to let them die. The two bills passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support (22-7 and 20-7)-the first in March, the second in May, but today they wait in the House Judiciary Committee.
4. Senate Bill 1040 would make hospital costs more understandable to consumers and insurance companies. The Senate passed the bill with bipartisan support (19-9) on May 17, but the House Budget Committee has not acted on it.