Senate Bill 738 Passes

I am proud that my bill to protect the Affordable Care Act, S0738, passed last week.

Below are the comments I made on the floor prior to the vote.

“This the third year that I have proposed legislation that would codify much of the insurance protections and standards created by the Affordable Care Act. This year, the legislation has 26 co-sponsors, a testament to the statewide importance of maintaining access to affordable high quality health coverage. Due to the existence of the ACA, nearly 97% of Rhode Island residents are now insured. Without the ACA, many of these residents would not be able to access a high standard of health insurance, or they would be priced out of care due to gender, preexisting conditions, or other factors that we are now safeguarded against.

This legislation:

• Prohibits annual limits and lifetime dollar caps on coverage for essential benefits

• Requires that insurers keep their administrative costs in check

• Guarantees that dependents up to age 26 can stay on their parent’s plan

• Guarantees protections against pre-existing condition exclusions

• Requires essential benefits coverage that must be included at every tier of coverage, such as including preventive services, maternity care, hospitalization, mental health services and prescription drug coverage

• Guarantees coverage of preventive services without any patient cost sharing

• Guarantees issue and renewal so no one can be denied a policy, even if sick

• Allows discounts for wellness programs

• Allows insurance premium rates to vary only by age (not gender or health Status )

• And Sets out of pocket limits

As Rhode Islanders, we have watched as government leaders in Washington threaten to erode many of our most important rights, privileges, and protections for immigrants and refugees, our environment, workers rights, women’s reproductive rights, and protections against banking fraud and exploitation. And that was just last week.

So, today, we have the opportunity to protect the most important components of the ACA by preserving them in Rhode Island law.

I feel we do have an obligation to protect Rhode Islanders from the erratic, irrational and dangerous efforts of our federal leadership.

Therefore, I move passage of S738subA.”

Senate backs bill to enact much of ACA at state level

STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller to help protect Rhode Islanders’ access to insurance coverage in the face of threats to the federal Affordable Care Act.

The legislation, sponsored by Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller and House Health, Education and Welfare Committee Chairman Joseph M. McNamara, would ensure that the standards of the Affordable Care Act — often called Obamacare — remain in effect in Rhode Island, even if the courts or Congress were to eliminate the federal laws that created it.

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Sponsors honored for law on Holocaust, genocide education

STATE HOUSE – Four sponsors of legislation that now requires Rhode Island schools to teach students about genocide and the Holocaust were recognized last week at Rhode Island Interfaith Commemoration of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence), Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence), Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence) and former representative Aaron Regunberg of Providence were presented the Never Again award to honor their effort to ensure future generations learn about the atrocities of the past so they will not be repeated.

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Senate OKs Miller bill to create pilot program tapping Medicaid to house the chronically homeless

STATE HOUSE – The Senate today passed legislation sponsored by Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller to launch a pilot program testing the effectiveness of using Medicaid waiver funds to treat chronic homelessness.

The bill (2019-S 0024) will now be forwarded to the House of Representatives, where Rep. David A. Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston) is sponsoring companion legislation (2019-H 5571).

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House, Senate health chairs push bill to preserve Obamacare in R.I.

With the Trump administration this week asking a federal appeals court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, the chairmen of the state House and Senate health committees have introduced legislation that would preserve many of the ACA’s features for Rhode Islanders, regardless of federal court or government action.

PROVIDENCE — With the Trump administration this week asking a federal appeals court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, the chairmen of the state House and Senate health committees have introduced legislation that would preserve many of the ACA’s features for Rhode Islanders regardless of federal court or government action.

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Advocates for gun control, abortion rights take the stage at R.I. State House

On a day when the national leader of the gun-control advocacy group — Moms Demand Action — flew into Rhode Island to urge action on an assault weapons ban, religious leaders from outside the Catholic Church in the most Catholic state in the nation urged Senate passage of a stalled abortion-rights bill, while noting pointedly that Rhode Island is not a one-religion state.

PROVIDENCE — Guns and abortion again dominated attention at back-to-back news conferences at the Rhode Island State House on Wednesday.

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