Legislative Update Week of April 16th
This week, NHNPA lobbyist Bob Dunn testified in front of the Senate Finance Committee in opposition to an amendment to SB 590 proposed by Representative Neal Kurk. The amendment would assess a 5.5% tax on net patient services revenues received by a number of categories of healthcare providers, including APRNs. Representative Kurk said that he filed the amendment in order to eliminate any questions that might exist concerning the constitutionality of the hospital Medicaid Enhancement Tax, which has been the subject of ongoing litigation.
As Bob told the Committee, this amendment would have a major impact on nurse practitioners, and especially those in independent practice, for whom this tax would amount to an income tax. In addition, Bob noted that the manner in which this tax is being proposed -as an amendment to a bill at the eleventh hour- is exceedingly unfair. If the amendment had been filed as a bill at the beginning of the session, it would have been hugely controversial. But as it was, the amendment came out with no notice, merely as a notation on an online docket to an unrelated bill made on Thursday afternoon. APRNs and all of the other healthcare providers involved had only two business days in which to digest and prepare for the hearing on this bill (and in fact, given that a number of the categories of healthcare providers covered under the bill did not have anyone to testify at the hearing, it appears that some of the groups of providers had not even heard of the amendment even then).
The amendment has been criticized by many on the Committee and by many in the House, both Republicans and Democrats. We will keep you informed as the Finance Committee votes on this next week.
The House Commerce Committee continues to consider SB 383, the legislation creating a Commission to Study Healthcare for All. We asked that a nurse practitioner be added to the Commission, and that request seems to have won the approval of the members of the subcommittee that is reviewing this. What is still up-in-the-air, though, is whether the Committee will pass the bill at all. There is a lot of antipathy towards commissions in general, and so it is far from certain that the Commerce Committee will recommend that this bill be approved. The subcommittee and the full committee will vote on this next week
The House Finance Committee continues to look at SB 313, the bill to reauthorize Medicaid expansion. The vote in the Committee will be next week also.
Finally, a House Commerce Committee subcommittee this week voted to recommend passage of SB 483, the bill to prohibit health care facilities from enforcing non-competes against certain types of providers. The amendment that looks like it will be proposed by the subcommittee is one that would include APRNs.leg