Legislative Update: Week of May 20, 2019
The MA State Senate spent last week reviewing the 1142 filed amendments in response to the release of their version of the FY2020 budget. On Monday, MassBio launched an advocacy campaign urging Massachusetts residents to email their senator in support of Amendment 654, filed by Senator Boncore.
At the Federal level, CMS issued new guidance addressing spread pricing in Medicaid to ensure PBMs cannot upcharge health plans and increase costs for the state. The guidance requires spread pricing to be accounted in the calculation of Medical Loss Ratios (MLRs) by Medicaid managed care and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) health plans. Additionally, the Trump Administration ruled it will not proceed with its initial proposal to let Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans limit coverage of drugs in the six protected classes. Finally, on Thursday the House of Representatives adopted H.R. 987, the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act. This omnibus bill combines three bills to lower drug costs by promoting generic competition and four bills to strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Senate debate on the FY2020 begins on Tuesday and will likely continue into Thursday. MassBio’s advocacy campaign will run through the end of the debate. Stay tuned for updates on our initiatives and statements based on the outcome of the budget. Also on Tuesday, the Health Policy Commission will hold its public listening session on the impact of coupons, discounts, and other vouchers for prescription drugs on pharmaceutical spending and health care costs in Massachusetts. MassBio submitted a letter to the HPC to show its continued support for co-pay assistance programs.
Additionally, the House’s Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing, “Improving Drug Pricing Transparency and Lowering Prices for American Consumers,” on Tuesday.