Bill Watch is a service of the Knoxville Bar Association Legislative Committee. During each week of the legislative session, the KBA will distribute an updated report, through the support of Stephanie D. Coleman of Owings, Wilson & Coleman. The report will indicate progress and recent actions taken on the bills of interest to KBA members.
You can also get information about the General Assembly, including the text of bills and floor and committee calendars, by accessing the legislative web site at www.capitol.tn.gov.
January 24, 2020
Health care payer claims databases – The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee heard discussion on legislation this week to increase consumer transparency in the health care industry through an all payer claim database (APCD). An APCD is a large-scale, secure database that collects health care claims data from health insurers as the basis for analyses of cost and quality. Senate Bill 322, the Tennessee Health Care Transparency Initiative, seeks to provide consumers with more information regarding the costs of care to help them make informed decisions. The committee will continue discussion on the legislation on February 18.
Health Insurance Premiums - Legislation concerning premiums and overall health care costs for small businesses through Association Health Plans (AHP) was approved by the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee this week. Senate Bill 645 aligns Tennessee’s AHP laws with new federal rules put into place by the Trump administration to help small businesses purchase affordable, high quality health insurance as a result of increased flexibility. AHPs allow small businesses and entrepreneurs to band together with other businesses to purchase insurance with the bargaining power of a big company. The plans are similar to comprehensive large group or self-insured insurance policies offered by most large employers, covering the same types of treatments and procedures.
The rule changes allow associations to exist primarily for health insurance purposes. It also allows businesses that are not in a similar line of work to band together within a state or metropolitan area. Businesses could form AHPs, even if employees do not live in the same state. In addition, it allows married couples who own a business together to join AHPs for the first time. The bill now goes to the full Senate for final consideration.
Right to Work - A resolution allowing voters to add Tennessee’s Right to Work law to the state constitution passed its first hurdle in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week by a vote of seven to two. Senate Joint Resolution 648 ensures the constitution protects workers from being hired or fired based on their membership in, affiliation with, resignation from, or refusal to join or affiliate with any labor union or employee organization.
The resolution must pass the General Assembly by a simple majority this year and by a two-thirds majority during the 2021 or 2022 legislative session in order to appear on the ballot for a statewide referendum in November 2022. The amendment would become part of the state constitution if adopted by a majority of votes cast in the governor’s election.