Legislative Update – Week of June 12, 2023

Jun 13, 2023

Last week:


There were two lawsuits filed challenging the constitutionality of the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) drug price negotiation program.  The first was filed by Merck and the second was filed by the US Chamber of Commerce. Merck sued the U.S. government on Tuesday, seeking an injunction of the drug price negotiation program contained in the Inflation Reduction Act, which it argues violates the Fifth and First Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

On Friday, the US Chamber of Commerce stated that government price controls harm patients, limit access to medicine, and stifle American innovation. Moreover, the new provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) violate fundamental protections for free enterprise enshrined in our Constitution, which would have far-reaching implications in the future.

In Massachusetts

The BIO International Convention welcomed over 18,000 attendees to Boston for the first time since 2018.

On Monday, Mayor Michelle Wu announced a workforce initiative that aims to get 1,000 residents trained and hired in life sciences jobs by the end of 2025 at BIO. The $4 million grant will connect companies with residents seeking jobs in the industry. Wu also said that she is focused on programs to help train residents without four-year college degrees, specifically women of color and immigrant residents.  

On Tuesday, Governor Maura Healy reiterated her commitment to reauthorizing the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative and pledged to “Lengthen Massachusetts’ Lead” in Life Sciences with New Workforce Initiatives. The initiative was started in 2008 by former governor Deval Patrick and was reauthorized by former governor Charlie Baker in 2018. As there is still time before the current initiative expires, Healey has not yet commented on the size of the new initiative. 

The Joint Committee on Health Care Financing held a hearing on Tuesday. MassBio will submit a written testimony on H1176/S732, an act relative to promoting comprehensive transparency in the pharmaceutical industry. Former governor Jane Smith testified with her daughter, Lauren Hunt, about the role of pharmacy benefit managers in Hunt’s inability to access her necessary medications. Much of the hearing’s testimony scrutinized PBM’s and co-chairs Sen. Cindy Friedman and Rep. John Lawn shared their dissatisfaction with PBMs role in residents’ challenges accessing healthcare.  

That evening, House Speaker Ron Mariano was recognized with BIO’s Emerging Leaders Award.

Governor Maura Healey and MassBio CEO and President Kendalle Burlin O’Connell co-authored an op-ed that ran in the Wednesday edition of the Boston Globe about the success of the life sciences in Massachusetts and the need for innovation and investment to extend the Commonwealth’s lead in the industry.  

At the BIO Convention, Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll participated in a Fireside chat about public private partnerships at the Massachusetts Pavilion.

Also on Wednesday, the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission released a preview of its annual cost trends report. The HPC noted that the per-capita commercial health care spending rose at a rate higher than the national growth rate between 2019 and 2021. The HPC flagged prescription drugs as a source of a majority of the excessive spending.  John Moran and Bill MacGregor were sworn in as state representatives for the 9th and 10th Suffolk districts, respectively, bringing the Massachusetts House back to full strength.

This week:

In Massachusetts

On Thursday the Senate is set to debate their $590 million tax plan. The Senate plan, like the House, would increase child and dependent tax credits, rent deductions, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the senior circuit breaker tax credit cap. It will also address the annual cap for the Housing Development Incentive Program and the annual authorization of the low-income housing tax credit. The plan makes no mention of the short-term capital gains tax cuts that both the House and Governor Healey proposed in their own tax plans.

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