On March 15, the Senate concurred in Assembly Bill 543. The Assembly unanimously passed AB 543 on February 11. The bill now heads to the governor for his signature.
Authored by Rep. John Jagler (R-Watertown) and Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield), AB 543 would prevent the legislature from holding a hearing on or taking a vote on legislation that creates new health care insurance mandates until after it has received a report from the Commissioner of Insurance.
Under current law, the Commissioner of Insurance is required to submit a report on the social and financial impact of any health insurance mandates. Social impact factors in such a report include:
- The portion of the state’s residents who use the treatments or services covered by the health insurance mandate;
- The number of persons who would be eligible for coverage under the health insurance mandate;
- The availability of insurance coverage for these persons without the health insurance mandate.
Financial impact factors in such a report include:
- Whether the health insurance mandate may increase or decrease the costs of the treatments or services covered by the health insurance mandate;
- The impact of the health insurance mandate on total costs of health care in this state.
Currently, the Commissioner of Insurance is statutorily required to produce such reports, however the reports have been issued after the legislature has considered the legislation or, in some instances, no report was ever issued. In the rare circumstance in which the executive branch misuses the new procedural requirements included in AB 543 by delaying submittal of the report as a means of preventing legislative action, a “notwithstanding clause” could be added to any bill to ensure that the legislature maintains the functional right to pass a bill without executive branch encroachment.