Colorodo’s Citizen Legislature – Mar. 2018

~ By Doris Beaver ~

From timed to time, politicians in Washington stand up so sanctimoniously and “moan” that the only way to deal with this country’s budget and deficit problems is to rein in or end the charity programs of Medicare and Medicaid.

Far too many of that group have never worked for a living and had Social Security withheld from their pay checks over their entire lives. When it comes to filing for Social Security and Medicare, applicants are told the premium for Medicare will be deducted from their monthly Social Security benefits and are provided with the net amount to be received each month.

Now, since a Social Security recipient is paying for Medicare coverage from earnings paid into the system over the period of a life time, claiming that the recipient is a charity case and responsible for this country’s budget and deficit problems conveys just what’s wrong with this country’s government – CONGRESS!! (In this writer’s opinion.)

Senate Bill 18-152: Price gouging on certain prescription drugs hits the most vulnerable Coloradans hardest – the older citizens and Medicaid recipients. (Remember, “elderly” is no longer politically correct.) SB 152 addresses a number of impacts suffered by this segment of the population.

SB 152 makes price gouging a deceptive trade practice under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, and grants the Attorney General additional subpoena powers to request cost and pricing information from drug manufacturers.

SB 152 further “prohibits a pharmaceutical manufacturer or wholesaler from price gouging on sales of essential off-patent or generic drugs. Price gouging is defined in SB 152 as “price increases that result in an increase of fifty percent or more in the drug’s wholesale acquisition cost within the preceding one-year period if certain other conditions are met.

Since SB 152, if passed as introduced, will hit the pharmaceutical industry big time in the pocket book, look for very aggressive lobbying against it.

SB 152 is yet to have its first committee hearing.
Lead Sponsors of Senate Bill 18-152: Senator Irene Aguilar (D-Denver) 866-4852; Representative Susan Lontine (D-Denver, Jefferson) 866-2966.

House Bill 18-1196: HB 1196 involves applicants for Aid to the Needy Disabled Program (AND) which serves as a type of interim assistance while the individual applies for Social Security Income (SSI) benefits. AND benefits are paid to individuals who are completely disabled and unable to work for a period of six months, but said benefits end once the applicant is approved for SSI benefits. Colorado is reimbursed by the federal government for the amount of AND benefits paid.

HB 1196 adds “licensed or certified psychologists, licensed social workers, professional counselors, or other personnel deemed as qualified by the Department of Human Services (DHS)” to the list of professionals who can examine and certify the diagnosis, prognosis and other relevant medical or mental factors for an application for the Aid to the Needy Disabled Program.

HB 1196 is yet to have its first committee hearing.
Sponsors of House Bill 1196: Representative Tony Exum, Sr (D-El Paso) 866-3069; Senator Nancy Todd (D-Arapaho) 866-3432.

Senate Bill 18-054: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is responsible for licensing and inspecting health facilities, including assisted living residences.

SB 054 is most likely in response to the CDPHE’s published draft rules to increase the license fee for these facilities starting on July 1, 2018, with the updated rules and fees to be considered by the State Board of Health later in 2018.

SB 054 provides that “any licensing fee set by the CDPHE for assisted living residences cannot be increased by an amount greater than the inflation rate for the Denver-Boulder-Greeley statistical area, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States Department of Labor. Provisions of SB 054 apply to any increase to the schedule of fees that is in effect as of August 1, 2019.

SB 054 passed its third reading on January 30, 2018.
Sponsors of Senate Bill 18-054: Senator Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa, Baca, Bent, Conejos, Crowley, Custer, Huerfano, Kiowa, Las Animas, Mineral, Otero, Prowers, Pueblo, Rio Grande, Saguache) 866-4875; and Representative Larry Liston (R-El Paso) 866-2937.

Doris Beaver

Doris Beaver

Doris Beaver is a free lance journalist who writes from her home high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains on senior issues, politics, ethics and environmental issues. Visit her website www.dorisbeaver.com, or e-mail her at doris@dorisbeaver.com.