What is House Bill 18? (And why is it devastating to workers?)

By the PA. AFL-CIO

– House Bill 18 is sponsored by Representative Ryan Mackenzie (R-134) and institutes a drug “formulary” for injured workers in the workers’ compensation system.  This means that injured workers would only have access to a limited set of prescription medications and treatments when receiving workers’ compensation.  The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO opposes House Bill 18 because it limits injured workers’ right to healthcare and treatment.

Workers compensation laws guarantee that if you are hurt on the job, you will receive payment for lost wages and medical expenses.  Already Pennsylvania workers receiving workers’ compensation need to see a healthcare professional of their employer’s insurance company’s approval for 90 days before they can choose treatment by their own doctor.  Under House Bill 18, even after the initial 90 days, injured workers would only be allowed to receive pre-approved treatments from the drug formulary.  This would prevent doctors from making decisions based on the best interest of their patients and tie them to an unaccountable drug “formulary”.  House Bill 18 is an unnecessary government intrusion into the relationship between patients and their doctor. 

Rep. Mackenzie says that this bill is a solution to the opioid epidemic, however, the word “opioid” does not appear even once in the bill.  This bill would limit the entire range of medications available to injured workers solely because they were injured on the job.  This bill is not about solving the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania, House Bill 18 is just another step in dismantling injured workers’ rights.  

Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth understand that our communities are facing an epidemic of opioid abuse and addiction.  Threatening the healthcare of injured workers is not a solution to this problem.  For real information on opioid addiction, visit the Department of Human Services’ Centers of Excellence, call their opioid abuse hotline at 1-800-662-4357, or learn more about the other resources and tools available to you and your community. 

Injured Workers Deserve Healthcare, not a Drug Formulary.  Don’t be fooled by House Bill 18.

Source – http://www.paaflcio.org/?p=7613