House tackles business-related measures

The New Hampshire House went through a flurry of bills left over from last session at its Jan. 4 meeting, the first of the New Year.

One of the business-related bills considered but killed after a short debate was one that would prohibit drug manufacturers from advertising after a short debate. Supporters said that drug companies shouldn’t be educating consumers about what medicine they should taking. Opponents said that it violated commercial free speech.

But many of the bills passed without any debate. The measures included bills that would:

• Require continued medical insurance for college students on a family’s policy if the student had to leave college because of illness, also known as “Michelle’s Law”

• Lower the insurance premium tax in order to attract and retain insurers

• Revamp the securities law, expanding the Securities Regulations Bureau’s powers to clamp down on fraud, increasing licensing fees and adding penalties for late notice filings

• Require health insurers to cover the services provided by certified midwives

• Allow developers to combine wetland mitigations of less than an acre with one large mitigation project covering them all

• Put off the sale of Public Service of New Hampshire generation assets another two years until 2008

• Require that health providers disclose on their license applications their ownership in health-care facilities to which they may refer patients. Incomplete license applications will be denied. (The current law, requiring them to make those disclosures separately, was widely ignored and never enforced.)

• Allow pharmacists to establish collaborative practice agreements with medical practitioners in certain settings, like hospitals, long-term care facilities, hospices and ambulatory care clinics.

Among the bills killed by the House that would have affected businesses were those that would:

• Establish a fee on take-out food and beverages

• Require pharmacies to participate in a prescription drug program for the underinsured

• Require that owners of commercial and industrial property provide rental lease and expense information. – BOB SANDERS

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