Debate began Wednesday in the state House of Representatives on the controversial question of whether patients should be allowed to choose physicians outside of their insurance providers’ networks. But the discussion didn’t last long.
Rep. Jim Bolin, R-Canton, asked that a fiscal note be prepared by the Legislative Research Council to estimate the potential impacts on local governments and school boards.
“I think this is a gray area, but I will see if you are supported,” House Speaker Brian Gosch, R-Rapid City, said. After the tally was taken showing Bolin had more than the minimum one-fifth of the 70 House members with him, Gosch said, “He is supported.”
That stopped the debate.
Rep. Hal Wick, R-Sioux Falls, said the only purpose was to delay the bill’s debate in an attempt to kill it. He is the bill’s prime sponsor.
Wick said a fiscal note couldn’t be completed before the crossover deadline for the House to finish work on House legislation. That last date is Feb. 20.
If the deadline arrives first, the House debate could resume without the fiscal note. The House also could extend the deadline by two days under the Legislature's rules for the session.
The legislation, House Bill 1142, rolled out of the House Health and Human Services Committee on a 11-0 vote Tuesday.
That was despite opposition from the state Division of Insurance, independent insurance agents, the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the three major hospital and health care groups — Sanford, Avera and Rapid CityRegional — and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Supporting the bill are chiropractors, optometrists and specialty health care providers.