STAND. COM. REP. NO.2350
RE: S.B. No. 2469
Honorable Robert Bunda
President of the Senate
Twenty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2002
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Housing, to which was referred S.B. No. 2469 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO PRESCRIPTION DRUGS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this measure is to appropriate funds to finance a state-sponsored prescription assistance plan.
Testimony in support of this measure was received from the Department of Human Services (DHS), Insurance Division, Executive Office on Aging, Policy Advisory Board for Elder Affairs, HGEA-AFSCME, Hawaii Alliance for Retired Americans, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, American Association of Retired Persons, Kokua Council, Unity House, Inc., ILWU Local 142, La'au Makana The Medicine Bank, Hawaii Academy of Physician Assistants, Hawaii State AFL-CIO, HSTA, Hawaii Catholic Conference, and four private citizens.
This measure proposes to create the State's first prescription assistance plan. Although the measure is an appropriations bill, it has vast and far-reaching implications for the health of Hawaii's citizens, particularly retirees. This measure essentially places the plan under the Medicaid program, if possible. The DHS is required to obtain a Medicaid waiver, which would mean that about half of the cost would be federally subsidized.
Although reimbursement under the plan is modest at $1 for each prescription written, it is movement in the right direction. Prescription drugs are often unaffordable to lower income persons and retirees on fixed incomes. Your Committee heard testimony from across the State last year on the impact of prescription drug costs on the family budget, particularly of retirees who go without the drug, take a smaller dosage of the drug than recommended by their doctor, or give up buying food. There is clearly a need for a State-sponsored prescription assistance plan for income qualified individuals.
Your Committee desires to continue discussion on this measure and to await the disposition of other prescription drug coverage bills in this Session.
Your Committee has amended this measure by changing the effective date to July 1, 2050 to continue the discussion on the prescription assistance plan.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Housing that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2469, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2469, S.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Housing,
RON MENOR, Chair