Tertium Quids, a conservative advocacy organization, has been pushing three bills in the General Assembly designed to bring more “choice and accessibility” to Virginia’s healthcare system.
The goal of the “Virginia Healthcare Basket” Initiative, the group explains, is “to support the growth of innovative business models, insurance options, and technology with an eye toward creating an exciting new healthcare track which runs parallel to the overburdened and cost-prohibitive traditional health and insurance model.”
Conceptually, Democrats don’t have much to offer healthcare than more government involvement and more redistribution of wealth. Virginia Republicans have criticized the march to government-controlled medicine but they have not provided much of an alternative. The proposals touted by Tertium Quids won’t transform Virginia healthcare markets, but they would nudge the state in the direction of more innovative, entrepreneurial, market-driven healthcare.
Telemedicine. SB 1221 and HB 19720 would require insurers to cover remote patient monitoring services as part of their coverage of telemedicine services. Remote patient monitoring uses telecommunications technology to monitor patient data such as weight, blood pressure, pulse, pulse oximetry, blood glucose and other medical indicators. Crucially, the bill ensures that Virginia regulators cannot prohibit medical practitioners in good standing in other states from providing those services.
The bills have passed the House and Senate and now await Governor Ralph Northam’s signature.
Retiree licenses. HB 2457 provides that the Board of Medicine may issue retiree licenses to doctors of medicine, osteopathy, podiatry, and chiropractic, exempting them from certain regulatory requirements, for the purpose of providing charity care or in-home health services. This bill also has moved to the Governor’s desk.
Short-term health insurance. SB 1674, the most controversial of the three, is heading to the Governor’s desk after a narrow victory in the House. The bill provides that insurance carriers offering short-term, limited-duration health plans may offer a renewal guarantee. The guarantee protects customers from having plans canceled because of pre-existing conditions.
My only reservation is the mandate that insurance plans cover remote patient monitoring. Virginia has too many insurance mandates as it is, and adding more won’t make health insurance any cheaper. If remote monitoring is a cost-effective idea, insurance companies won’t need legislative mandates to offer the service. On the other hand, if you’re going to enact a mandate, at least open it up to out-of-state competition, which this legislation does.
Now, if only Tertium Quids would tackle the Certificate of Public Need, the most competition-squelching law on the books in Virginia. Still, small victories are better than none. Most significantly, Tertium Quids is creating visibility for the idea of a innovation-driven, competition-driven, market-based reforms, the only alternative to government-run healthcare.There are currently no comments highlighted.