OP-ED: Republican Liberty Caucus of Ohio Reviews Key Items on Legislative Agenda

(Columbus, Ohio) March 31, 2017:  After a heated presidential race but before the Governor’s race takes shape here in Ohio, it is easy to lose sight of what is happening in state politics. Now that the General Assembly is back in full session, it’s time to see what Ohio’s Republican majority is prioritizing this session.  Of interest to the Republican Liberty Caucus of Ohio, and epitomizing the principles we stand for, are two bills dealing with healthcare and one dealing with criminalization of the victim.

HCR6

            While our state caucus does not take a stand on federal legislation, there is a House Concurrent Resolution of interest because it urges control of health care be returned to the states. This could possibly be one of the best solutions to our health care needs in both the long and short-term.

             The Affordable Care Act and its Republican proposed replacement both sought to put all 50 states on a one-size fits all model, despite the fact that each state’s needs differ. Furthermore, each model doesn’t quite get it right. Even the proponents of ACA’s replacement bill acknowledged this notion in their 3-phase plan. By allowing each state to develop their own systems, we potentially flesh out 50 models simultaneously. Over time, each state could assess the models of other states and adopt what works out of that model. Eventually, the best policies will rise to the top and more states will adopt them. Are some going to get it wrong? Yes, but in this scheme when one state gets it wrong, it’s not wrong for the other 49.

            We urge a YES vote on HCR6, introduced by RLCOH endorsee Wes Goodman, to “Urge repeal and replacement of Affordable Care Act” and return power back to the states.

HB101

            The second bill to deal with healthcare will help to significantly lower the costs of a specific drug, epinephrine.

            Right now, through rebate schemes, doctors are motivated to write prescriptions for the EpiPen by Mylar when they’re really only interested in prescribing epinephrine. Due to various state regulations, when a doctor prescribes an EpiPen, the pharmacist must issue an EpiPen. House Bill 101, introduced by Representative Derek Merrin, will remove that requirement and allow a pharmacist, with the patient’s consent, to substitute a less expensive alternative that will still meet the patient’s needs. Some of these alternatives can cost hundreds of dollars less all because they don’t utilize Mylar’s patented delivery system. If you could take a medicine in pill form at a fraction of the cost of an injection and your needs were still met, would you? This bill allows you that choice.

            We urge a YES vote on HB101 to “Improve access to epinephrine.”

HB56

            Lastly, House Bill 56 by Representatives Theresa Gavarone and Jonathan Dever will help us fight human trafficking by expunging the records of victims as criminals as a result of their being trafficked. Ohio is one of the states with the most active sex trafficking underground. Many of these victims are children sometimes as young as 13. Because they are sold for sex, they are treated in the courts as prostitutes.

            The idea that a 13-year-old child could be a prostitute would be laughable if it weren’t for the fact that their criminal records say as much. This law would allow for victims to petition the court to have those records expunged. It also authorizes intervention in lieu of conviction for a victim.

            We not only urge a YES vote on HB56 to “Expunge criminal record if caused by human trafficking,” but we also implore leadership to fast track this bill to the Governor’s desk for signing.

 

About MathewErickson
Mathew Erickson is the Public Relation Committee Chairman for the Republican Liberty Caucus of Ohio.