As both Congress and the Wisconsin State Legislature spin up for 2023-24, the Wisconsin Medical Society’s (WisMed) Advocacy shop will alert members when bills of interest are introduced or are at a critical stage in the legislative process. These alerts are designed to help physicians optimize their time in helping WisMed’s advocacy work on behalf of physicians and their patients.
Bill in Congress: Workforce Mobility Act of 2023
Author: U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI)
What it would do:
The bill would create federal law prohibiting certain noncompete agreements in employment contracts. Similar to Rep. Gallagher’s proposed legislation in 2022, HR 1367, this session’s version also empowers state attorneys general to enforce the ban through civil penalties. The bill notes that employers should not resort to rudimentary time and/or geography restrictions, as they could include provisions in employment contracts specific to protecting trade secrets or intellectual property. According to the bill, “Noncompete agreements are blunt instruments that crudely protect employer interests and place a drag on national productivity by forcing covered workers to either idle for long periods of time or leave the industries in which the workers have honed their skills altogether.”
WisMed policy agrees with this assessment, stating that such clauses “interfere with the patient-physician relationship and physician and patient autonomy” (EME-001).
What you can do:
Reach out to your member of Congress and ask them to support the Workforce Mobility Act of 2023. You can visit their individual website or call their Washington, D.C. office (if you reside in Rep. Gallagher’s district, a message of thanks is always well-received):
Similarly, you can contact your U.S. Senators and ask them to author or support a Senate Bill in the upper house:
Senator Ron Johnson (202) 224-5323
Senator Tammy Baldwin (202) 224-5653
Bill in the State Legislature: Extending post-partum Medicaid coverage for new moms
Authors: State Senators Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) and Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma), State Assembly Representatives Donna Rozar (R-Marshfield) and Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc)
What it would do:
The legislation requires the state’s Department of Health Services to apply for a federal waiver, allowing the state to continue Medicaid coverage for mothers one year post-partum. That coverage would mimic that which newborns receive when the mother is Medicaid-eligible upon delivery. Medicaid eligibility levels are more generous for pregnant mothers, so sometimes a mother “incomes out” of the Medicaid program after giving birth. This disruption harms continuity of care and often makes it more difficult for moms to seek medical care for both themselves and/or their babies – which is usually when comprehensive care is needed the most. Twenty-eight states already provide a full year’s coverage for Medicaid-eligible moms, with six other states planning to expand to one year. Wisconsin’s law currently extends enhanced Medicaid eligibility to mothers on the last day of the month following 60 days post-partum.
What you can do:
Ask your state assembly representative and state senator to cosponsor the proposals, LRB 1377 [link to attachment 23-1377] and its companion LRB 0324. If you live in any of the authors’ districts, sending them a note of thanks is a nice touch.
Find your state legislators’ contact information on the Wisconsin State Legislature’s home page. Fill in your voting address in the “Who Are My Legislators?” box to get emails and phone numbers.
Contact WisMed Chief Policy & Advocacy Officer Mark Grapentine, JD for more information.
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