A new proposal has emerged to settle much (but far from all) of the legal and political controversy over New Hampshire’s unique medical malpractice insurance fund. Primarily, it would settle the matter of who has a right to the extra money in the fund.
Senate Bill 170 first forbids the state from claiming any surplus funds from the Joint Underwriting Association — either through legislation or taxation. It also orders that any “excess surplus” funds be distributed to policyholders. That excess measures at least $110 million, according to the bill. And that $110 million is at the core of the two-year controversy.
A House committee will hold a public hearing on SB 170 Tuesday.
Enough is enough. That appears to be the message of a Senate proposal, which, if enacted, finally could settle a score between New Hampshire and a medical malpractice insurance fund. The two-year-old controversy is about whether the state can claim surplus funds held by the New Hampshire Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association (JUA).
The Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee will hold a public hearing Thursday on Senate Bill 170, sponsored by Sen. Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry). The bill would prohibit the state from using any JUA funds and allow the organization to distribute surplus funds back to shareholders — medical providers who buy their malpractice insurance policies through the JUA.
The fight about health care and insurance continues, and it’s not just about federal reforms — although that certainly takes a front seat in the upcoming legislative agenda. Stopping federal health care reform is the goal of at least seven health care-related bills that will be considered when New Hampshire’s 2011 legislative session opens Jan. 5.
Today, we continue our survey of newly proposed laws with a snapshot look at the health care bills and some particular developments to keep an eye on.
The commission studying health care costs will greet two new members and hear from New Hampshire’s hospitals when it meets for its third regular meeting today. The Commission on Health Care Cost Containment stemmed from Senate Bill 505, which passed earlier this year. Members are charged with creating a first-of-its-kind study of general health care [...]
Forensic psychiatry is where the law and mental health meet, but the place is not supposed to be prison, according to Rep. Rich DiPentima. He’s part of a legislative study committee whose job is to figure out how to add a forensic psychiatric wing to New Hampshire Hospital—and fast. The goal is to divert patients from the state prison’s Secure Psychiatric Unit, where they are currently held alongside convicted criminals. “The way it is now at the state prison is not a good situation,” he says.
After a rocky start, the commission to study health care costs in New Hampshire will hold its first regular meeting on Tuesday.
Understanding the impact of health care economics is important given its growing influence across the economy. According to the N.H. Center for Public Policy Studies, personal health care costs made up 18 percent of the state economy in 2009. That’s double the amount from 1989, and it could grow to 25 percent or more in another 20 years.
New Hampshire is one step closer to its budget for the next two years, although it still may be a long way off.
The ban on new nursing home beds remains, but a bill in the Senate would ease regulations on renovations. Also: New Hampshire’s child safety laws line up with other states.