By Jessica Mathews /

Legislation sponsored by a local lawmaker has been approved as part of a larger bi-partisan plan that aims to reduce the cost of health care while making services more accessible.

Republican State Representative Ann Bollin of Brighton Township said the comprehensive plan focuses on three main goals: lowering the cost of prescription medicine, increasing access to services and providing a higher standard of care.

The measure Bollin is spearheading, House Bill 4355, would expand access to telemedicine services and allow health care professionals licensed in other states to provide telehealth services in Michigan. Bollin said the pandemic has made access to virtual appointments more important than ever before – noting in 2020, telehealth was responsible for 15% of all medical visits with nearly 90%t customer satisfaction.

Speaking on the House floor Wednesday, Bollin called it a common-sense reform that will give Michigan families greater access to safe, high-quality and affordable care. She commented that telehealth visits offer an innovative option for people to connect with the best specialists from the comfort of their own homes. Bollin said through the legislation they’ve taken steps to make sure patients are protected and no out-of-state physician will be allowed to offer care outside of the scope of practice permitted in Michigan. Bollin added that out-of-state providers who serve patients in Michigan will also be required to provide Michigan patients with verification of their license through that state’s licensing agency.

Other health care reforms approved by the House Wednesday would cap out-of-pocket costs for insulin, expand access to oral chemotherapy, and rein in the “unregulated prescription middlemen” who manipulate drug prices.

Republican State Representative Bob Bezotte of Marion Township also voted in favor of the reform measures, saying the plan puts patients and consumers first by increasing price transparency and lowering costs that continue to rise year after year. He said “Medication costs have skyrocketed in recent years - often for lifesaving drugs - forcing many families to make tough choices. This package addresses the faults within our state’s system and sends a clear message to big pharmaceutical companies that the Legislature will continue putting patients’ interests first.”

A full list of the reforms included in the bi-partisan plan is available through the provided link. It now advances to the Senate for further consideration.