Thursday, January 26, 2012

Health Care Access Recommendations Fare Poorly in Legislative Council

More Discouraging News Regarding Special Committee Recommendations

In a blog post last week, Sara Eskrich noted that the Legislative Council met on January 18 and recommended only 3 of the 11 bill drafts developed by the Special Committee on Infant Mortality. That same day, the Legislative Council also considered four bills developed by the Special Committee on Health Care Access, and only recommended one of the four.

Specifically, the Council recommended draft WLC: 0066/2, which would require several state agencies to jointly develop a workforce survey for health care providers (specifically the Dept. of Regulation and Licensing, now known as the Dept. of Safety and Professional Services, DHS, and DWD).

The Legislative Council did not approve any of the other three drafts that had been recommended by the committee and were reviewed last week:

  • WLC: 0091/1, which would expand an exemption from dental licensing requirements for dental residents or dental interns appointed by U.S.-based educational institutions and community health centers that meet certain requirements and by hospitals located outside Wisconsin.
  • WLC: 0096/2, which would modify duties of local health departments to require them to regularly conduct and disseminate assessments focused on population health standards and public health issues facing the community..
  • WLC: 0097/2, which would require graduates of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health who pay resident tuition, and graduates of the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), or Marquette School of Dentistry who receive state assistance as residents of Wisconsin, to practice in Wisconsin for a specified period of time.
It’s very unusual for special committee recommendations to fare so poorly in the Legislative Council because these study committees include legislators of both parties and outside experts, and they typically tackle subject areas that aren’t politically polarized. However, the composition of the special committees was determined by the Legislative Council prior to the 2010 election. The very significant shift in the makeup of the Legislature since then appears to have caused the unusually high rejection rate for committee recommendations. Also, with recall elections in the offing, the political polarization that was so pronounced in the Capitol last year appears not to have abated.

For further information about the special committee’s work, see its January 9th report.

Jon Peacock

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