Delaware 2017 Legislative Highlights
- The FY ’18 state tobacco control and prevention budget was level-funded from FY ’17. So this program’s budget remains at just under 50% of the funding level recommended for Delaware by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- ACS CAN and its partners advocated for an increase to the cigarette tax of $1.00 per pack with tax parity for other tobacco products. Research has proven that when cigarette tax increases are significant – a dollar or more – that’s when large numbers of people stop smoking and many youngsters never start. Unfortunately, the legislature introduced and passed House Bill 242 which raised the tax on cigarettes by 50 cents per pack. The decision of Delaware’s elected officials to move forward with a 50 cent increase to the state’s cigarette tax is a victory for the tobacco industry and ignores the proven health benefits a $ 1.00 increase would have delivered.
The FY ’18 state cancer control budget for programs and services continues to receive the largest share of the annual Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) dollars - 28 percent of the annual settlement funds. The cancer control and prevention budget is 90 % funded by the MSA dollars. There was a small increase in the cancer control budget of approximately $100,000.00. However, there was a $ 175,000.00 reduction in funding for the Medicaid Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program – a program that provides women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer, access to health care and treatment services through the state’s Medicaid program.
Quality of Life
House Bill 44 clarifies that every prescriber holding a controlled substance registration must be registered with the Delaware Prescription Monitoring Program. Further, prescribers who receive a CSR (controlled substances registration) for the first time must register with the Prescription Monitoring Program within 90 days.
House Bill 250, which would have created a 10 % state tax on the first sale of opioid pharmaceuticals was defeated in the House.
Access to Care
House Bill 120 passed the House and Senate and prohibits health insurance policies from limiting coverage for drugs that treat stage 4 metastatic cancer, by applying a step therapy or fail first protocol to such drugs. Step therapy is an insurance practice that requires patients to try and fail on a less expensive drug before coverage for a prescribed drug is granted. This Act is based on a similar bill in Georgia that was inspired by President Jimmy Carter’s recent battle with cancer. The bill also prohibits the use of this Act as a basis for limiting or excluding coverage for a drug approved by the FDA for treatment of a medical condition not covered under this Act.
House Bill 240, increased the personal income tax rates as well as eliminated itemized deductions, including charitable gift donations, was defeated in the General Assembly.