McCall Hamilton Advocacy and Public Affairs

Updates About Health Policy

Lawsuit Challenges Michigan Abortion Restrictions Despite New Reproductive Health Act

Update: Jan 27-Feb 12, 2024

House Democrats are celebrating the enactment of several new laws aimed at safeguarding personal freedoms and rights, which come into effect on February 13. These laws, which include protections for LGBTQ+ individuals and measures to eliminate barriers to reproductive health care access, are significant milestones for the state. Among them is the Reproductive Health Act, which aims to ensure access to abortion, remove medically unnecessary barriers, and safeguard reproductive rights.

Still, certain groups advocating for greater abortion access are challenging existing abortion restrictions that remain, such as the mandatory 24-hour waiting period and restrictions on advanced practice clinicians providing abortion care. These groups argue that these laws contradict the will of Michigan voters as expressed through the Reproductive Freedom for All constitutional amendment. The lawsuit, led by the Center for Reproductive Rights, names Attorney General Dana Nessel and other state officials as defendants, seeking a declaration that the laws are invalid and an order to prevent their enforcement. While House Democrats were unable to repeal these laws legislatively, the outcome of the lawsuit remains to be seen.

New Consumer Protections and Licensing Rules for Pharmacy Benefit Managers

Update: Nov 22-Dec 15, 2023

Governor Whitmer and the Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) are introducing new licensing rules for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to alleviate prescription drug costs for Michiganders. These changes, outlined on a newly launched DIFS website, stem from a set of prescription drug bills enacted last year. Governor Whitmer has stressed the importance of ensuring affordable access to necessary medications without forcing tough choices between health and other expenses.

Director Anita Fox highlighted the role of PBMs in managing drug benefits and the significance of DIFS’ licensing authority in safeguarding Michiganders from soaring drug expenses. The legislation, born from recommendations by the Prescription Drug Task Force, imposed crucial consumer safeguards, including oversight on PBM licenses, bans on “gag clauses” and “spread pricing,” and requirements for PBMs to furnish transparency reports to DIFS. These measures aim to provide clarity, reduce costs, and enhance access to crucial drug cost information for Michigan residents.

Reproductive Health Care Act Passes with Setback

Update: Oct 30-Nov 10, 2023

The Reproductive Health Care Act (RHA) passed in the Michigan House on Wednesday, November 1. Included in the RHA was the removal of the additional insurance policy to pay for an abortion, certain regulations for clinics, and language around partial-birth abortion procedures. However, this final approval of the bill package comes with amendments that ultimately passed in the closing margins of the House.

After an unforeseen no-vote in committee by Democrat Representative Karen Whitsett, Medicaid-funded abortions and the 24-hour waiting period were removed from the package to finally gain the Detroit Representative’s vote.

This legislation follows the passing of Proposal 3, where Michigan residents voted in favor of abortion rights in November 2022.