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Consumers would be protected against paying multiple copayments for physical therapy, chiropractic and occupational therapy services under a bill unanimously approved by the Senate on Tuesday. I was pleased to cosponsor this reform measure.
Senate Bill 487 prevents health insurance policies from charging a consumer more than one copayment amount per visit. The bill would also prohibit policies from depleting more than one visit for services provided on a given date.
The bill allows the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance to develop regulations relating to multiple copayments. Violators would be subjected to penalties prescribed in the Unfair Insurance Practices Act.
Other bills passed by the Senate and sent to the House of Representatives this week include:
Senate Bill 385 reforms and modernize the Transit Revitalization Investment District Act.
Senate Bill 427 requires cash-for-gold dealers to retain each item of precious metal for ten business days, instead of five, after purchasing it.
Senate Bill 494 repeals a requirement that the General Assembly be furnished with a printed copy of an annual report required under the Flood Insurance Education and Information Act of 1996. The report and other flood-related insurance data are available online at the Department of Insurance website.
Senate Bill 562 provides additional legislative oversight of the regulatory review process.
The Senate Finance Committee approved legislation on Tuesday that would restrain the growth of government spending by setting state spending limits in the Pennsylvania Constitution. Senate Bill 70 would limit state spending growth based on inflation and population growth.
The bill would require an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution, so lawmakers would have to approve the bill in two consecutive legislative sessions before giving voters the final say via referendum.
Since the spending controls would be included in the state Constitution, lawmakers would be prevented from breaching or repealing spending limits with a simple majority vote in the future.
The panel also approved Senate Bill 7, legislation that would enact spending controls and ensure any excess funds collected by the state would be used to pay down pension obligations, boost budgetary reserves and reduce the Personal Income Tax rate.
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 30 states operate under a tax or expenditure limitation. Pennsylvania is in the minority of states having no spending controls in place.
The Committee also approved
Senate Bill 401, a measure that would convert all members of the
Pennsylvania Legislature from a defined benefit pension plan to a defined
contribution plan. The bill would make the conversion mandatory for current and
future state Senators and Representatives.