Gov. McAuliffe Vetoed Direct Primary Care Bill

Date: May 31, 2016

NFIB will renew support of legislation next session.

Gov. McAuliffe Vetoed Direct Primary Care Bill

A
bill that could have been a healthcare game-changer for Virginia consumers and
small business owners was vetoed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe on May 20.

The
bill—House Bill 685—would have clarified that direct primary care agreements
are not health insurance and therefore can’t be regulated as such, meaning the
state’s insurance laws would not apply to them and licenses wouldn’t be
required to sell them.

Under
the direct primary care model, people pay primary care doctors a monthly fee to
get a certain set of healthcare services in return—essentially, a healthcare
subscription. Doctors can also contract directly with employers to provide
primary care services to their employers. With the combination of a major
medical policy and a direct primary care agreement, employers can meet the
Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate, provide cost-effective healthcare to
employees and their families, and save thousands of dollars per month.

 HB
685 also made clear that patients can terminate direct primary care agreements
at will and get back any money paid in advance, and healthcare providers may
not bill insurance companies for any of the services that are covered under the
agreement.

Nicole
Riley, NFIB/Virginia state director, issued a statement following Gov.
McAuliffe’s veto:

 “We’re
disappointed, but hardly surprised by the governor’s veto, and we’ll be working
with the governor’s office and legislators to come up with legislation that
works for everybody,” she said. “Year after year, when we’ve asked our members
what issue concerns them most, they’ve said access to affordable healthcare. HB
685 would have gone a long way toward addressing those concerns. …We had strong
bipartisan support in the General Assembly, and we’re hopeful the governor will
listen to the will of the people when the issue comes up again next session.”

While
the veto doesn’t prohibit direct primary care practices from operating, the
legislation was needed to provide legal clarity.

Related Content: News | Healthcare | Insurance | Labor | Virginia

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