Zach Stanley, MassBio’s Chief of Corporate Affairs, offered live, oral testimony on the Governor’s healthcare bill (S.2774) at last week’s Health Care Financing Committee hearing. The legislation contains numerous drug pricing provisions including assessing drug manufacturers when prices exceed cost growth benchmark, imposing penalties on excessive drug price increases, and establishing new oversight authority for pharmacy benefit managers (PMBs). (Zach’s testimony begins at 1:47:40.)
The House Committee on Ways and Means released their fiscal year 2023 budget proposal. Representative Coppinger has offered an amendment (#650) to eliminate the expiration of copay assistance programs in Massachusetts, as the current law is due to sunset on January 1, 2023. If the sunset is not eliminated or extended by the Legislature before the end of 2022, Massachusetts residents will not be allowed to access coupons or vouchers under any circumstances. House budget debates begin Monday, April 25.
The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) voted during their board meeting last week to set the 2023 Health Care Cost Growth Benchmark at 3.6%. The previous benchmark was 3.1%. The benchmark, set by the HPC Board of Commissioners annually for the following calendar year, is a statewide target for the rate of growth of total health expenditures.
The Massachusetts Senate passed legislation related to clean energy and climate crisis, known as the Drive Act. The legislation (S.2819) would invest $250 million into clean energy expansion, electric vehicle incentives, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. It would also overhaul the offshore wind procurement process, require greater scrutiny on the future of natural gas, and allow some cities and towns to restrict the use of fossil fuels in new construction. The legislation will now head to a conference committee as the House passed their own climate bill (H.4524) in March.
The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) has been removing mask signage at Boston Logan International Airport, while the MBTA is still requiring passengers to wear masks. These actions follow the ruling of a federal judge in Florida, who struck down the federal mask requirement on public transportation on Monday. The decision allows individual airlines and local transportation authorities to issue their own rules on masks and other COVID-19 safety measures.
Tuesday is Tax Day for Massachusetts residents, the deadline to file both state and federal 2021 income tax returns.