By Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs
I attended the annual Legislative Health Care Conference in Leavenworth last week to learn about issues that will likely be debated during the 2018 Legislative Session. It was a collection of legislator, agency staff and lobbyists representing an array of health care and related interests.
Our opening presenters were Representative Eileen Cody (D), Chair of the Health Care Committee and Representative Joe Schmick (R), ranking member of the committee. They discussed issues including the opioid abuse crisis and drug take back programs.
We heard from Jane Beyer, Senior Health Policy Advisor for the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. She discussed what was happening nationally with the Affordable Care Act and what this means to Washington State. The future is full of uncertainty with the ACA.
We also heard from Mike Webb, Chief of Staff for the Attorney General. Mike discussed potential 2018 Legislative issues including increasing the age for tobacco use to 21 years, the opioid epidemic and how it may relate to the prescription monitoring program.
Also covered were pharmacy licensing practices at the Department of Health and the pros and cons of non-appropriated funds compared to appropriated funds.
The conference ended with an update on the special elections from the two Senate Campaign Committee representatives.