Coming up in Committee: Forty-Five Sets of Bills Scheduled to be Heard by the RI General Assembly, April 9 – April 11, Part 4
9. H5748/H5371/H5303: Mandates state use of “data verification and provider screening technology solutions” and “state-of-the-art predictive modeling and analytics technologies in a pre-payment position within the healthcare claim workflow” to reduce Medicaid, RIte Care and RIte Share fraud and waste. H5734 is a variation on the same theme, repeating some of the same descriptions of fraud prevention, and focusing on Medicaid and CHIP (children’s health insurance program). (H Finance; Wed, Apr 10)
8B. H5753: Converts the “health care planning and accountability advisory council”, an in-government advisory panel, into the “health analytics, policy and planning commission”, a quasi-public body (with an executive director who “shall set his or her compensation and terms of employment”(?)), responsible for performing analyses on financial and quality reports for licensed health care providers, health outcomes and health expenditures”. Submitted at the request of the Lieutenant Governor. (H Health, Education and Welfare; Wed, Apr 10) Why should this be a quasi-public agency outside of the main government be performing this function? Possibly so it can eventually become a state level version of the Federal IPAB.
8A. S0656: As a condition of eligibility for certain state-funded medical assistance programs, “every applicant or recipient who owns a life estate in property with retained rights to revoke, amend or redesignate the remainderman must exercise those rights as directed by the executive office of health and human services”. (S Judiciary; Thu, Apr 11)
7. S0268: Ties the amount of the car-tax reimbursed to a municipality to the percentage of statewide vehicle value located in that municipality (rather than to tax rates that have been frozen arbitrarily by state law). (S Finance; Tue, Apr 9)
6B. H5646: Requires a photo ID to be presented when a purchase is made with an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card. (H Finance; Wed, Apr 10)
6A. H5411: “No person shall knowingly use or accept direct cash assistance funds held on electronic benefit transfer cards or access devices for the purchase or sale of…alcoholic beverages…lottery tickets…tobacco products…[pornography]…firearms and ammunition…vacation services; tattoos or body piercings; jewelry; [or] for gambling or for the payment…of any [government] fees, fines, bail, or bail bonds”. (H Finance; Wed, Apr 10)
5. S0352: Repeals the June 30, 2013 sunset on the law that makes driving without wearing a seat belt a primary motor vehicle offense. (S Judiciary; Thu, Apr 11)
4. H5946: Unionizes Rhode Island child-care workers, and provides them with the same arbitration and mediation options as state employees. (H Labor; Wed, Apr 10)
3B. FY2014 will be year 3 of a 7-year phase-in for the new education “funding formula”, for the communities scheduled to receive more aid under the new system relative to the old. (a 10-year period is used, for communities undergoing an aid reduction). S0188 would give those communities their entire new “formula” aid total beginning immediately in FY2014 — and, if a community is spending more per-pupil on education than the state average, all of the money from the acceleration could be used to reduce its maintenance of effort obligation by an equivalent amount, converting a portion of “education funding formula” into a property tax subsidy. (S Finance; Tue, Apr 9) The bill says that if a community is spending $1 more than the state average, but is due to receive more money under the “funding formula”, it can start making the rest of the state pay for its education costs, without changing anything about its education programs. It’s a bill that, more honestly than usual, shows how many Rhode Island legislators think of the education “funding formula” as a function-agnostic property tax subsidy.
3A. H5055/S0013: Schools districts would only pay a “local share” of education costs for the students who reside in their districts and attend charter schools “when the school classification, as determined by the formula specified in the Rhode Island accountability system, of the charter public school and the Met Center is higher than that of the student’s comparable district school of enrollment”. (H Finance; Wed, Apr 10 & S Education; Wed, Apr 10)
2. H5747: An attempt to appropriate $2M “for local mental health centers for outreach programs” by “joint resolution”, which usually means without gubernatorial approval. (H Finance; Wed, Apr 10) I hope the attitude of we-get-to-make-up-whatever-rules-we-want isn’t spreading from the House Committee level to the overall appropriations process.