Update: this bill is up for vote on Monday, February 5, 2018
by Karl Voigt
The Pennsylvania Senate is promoting new legislation that poses as a solution to the opioid crisis, but in reality seeks to control and any all medications prescribed by doctors.
Pennsylvania Senate Bill 936 proposes that workers’ compensation medications be limited to formularies, or lists of approved medications managed by insurers. Drugs that are not “medically-evidenced” to have a benefit for the injured worker would be “not-recommended” and therefore largely unavailable to patients who need them. These formularies by definition do not take individual patients into account, but rather rely on generalized rules to determine if medication is deigned appropriate for the populace.
The end results of this legislation, if past, are obvious. It will make it harder for doctors treat their patients, because the doctor can no longer decide what medication to prescribe. Further, it reduces the treatment options available to injured workers. All the while increasing profits for insurers who no longer have to pay for expensive medications.
If passed, SB 936 would empower insurance companies with a tool to say “no” to medications they deem too expensive, whether or not they are narcotic medications.
Click here for the full text of the bill.