PBM and PA Bills Head to the Governor; Senate Considers Dental Therapy Bill

On Friday, March 19, Governor Tony Evers was presented with Senate Bill 3, a bill authorizing the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) to license and regulate pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). The governor can now choose to sign the bill into law or veto it. The Assembly passed the bill on March 16 on a 94-0 margin; the Senate passed it one month earlier on February 16 by a vote of 31-1.

As we reported in a previous update, the provisions of the bill are consistent with similar legislation that stalled in the Senate last session, with only some changes to the effective dates of the bill’s provisions. The effective date of the bill will be January 1, 2022, except for three provisions:

  • The gag clause language, as required in 632.861 (2), takes effect on the day after publication.
  • The cost sharing limitation, as required in 632.861 (3), takes effect on June 30, 2021.
  • The audits, as treated under 632.865(6), take effect on June 30, 2021.

A bill to reform how Wisconsin regulates physician assistants is also ready for review by Gov. Evers. Assembly Bill 125 passed the Assembly on a voice vote on March 16 after clearing the Assembly Committee on Health unanimously. The bill passed the Senate on a voice vote on March 23. As we reported last month, this bipartisan legislation would allow PAs to practice in collaboration with a physician, similar to the existing nurse practitioner-physician relationship, thus allowing PAs to practice to the full extent of their education, experience and training. Similar legislation passed the Assembly last year but stalled when the Senate cancelled its last floor period due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 17, the Senate Committee on Insurance, Licensing and Forestry held a hearing on Senate Bill 181, which would license a new type of dental practitioner called a “dental therapist” to engage in the limited practice of dentistry. A companion bill, Assembly Bill 169, has been introduced in the Assembly.