Legislative Update – Week of April 3, 2023

Apr 04, 2023

Last week

In DC, CMS quietly pared back list of drugs requiring new rebates under Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The IRA requires pharma companies that raise certain drug prices faster than the rate of inflation to pay Medicare new rebates, beginning in 2025. But the initial list of 27 drugs that would be hit with the rebates, unveiled March 15, was cut by about 25% late last week, with CMS now removing 7 of those drugs.

In Massachusetts, Boston has expanded its tuition-free community college program to include all city residents regardless of age, income or immigration status. Starting this fall, any city resident will be eligible to pursue an associate’s degree or certificate at one of six partnering local institutions without paying to attend. The program also includes a $250 stipend for incidental expenses each semester for up to three years, and up to $2,500 of debt relief for students whose account balances are keeping them from re-enrolling.

This week

In DC, Congress is in recess until April 17.

In Massachusetts, the Committee on Financial Services will hold an informational hearing on Tuesday, April 4th on matters before the committee. This is a listening session for committee members and an opportunity for interested parties to introduce themselves to the committee. There will not be any bills heard during this Informational Hearing.

On Wednesday, the Department of Revenue is due to report on state tax collections for the month of March, which generally ranks as the sixth most significant month for state receipts. DOR has set the monthly benchmark at $3.621 billion and had already collected $2.146 billion by mid-month — $13 million or 0.6 percent more than the collections during the same period in March 2022. Through the first eight months of fiscal 2023, tax collections of $23.6 billion were running 0.2 percent behind the record fiscal 2022 haul but were outpacing the state’s benchmarks by about $1 billion, or 4.4 percent.

By Thursday the State Administration and Regulatory Oversight Committee is due to report on their approval or disapproval of Governor Maura Healey’s housing-focused Cabinet reorganization plan. The Article 87 proposal (H 43) would create a new Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities and rename EOHED as the Executive Office of Economic Development. Governor Healey’s bill also duplicates the existing legislative authorization for the Mass Works program in a new “Housing Works” statute intended to fund municipal infrastructure for new or redeveloped housing. The Legislature has 60 days to approve or disapprove a reorganization bill from the date that the governor files the proposal. Unlike a typical bill, the measure is also not subject to amendment. If the branches don’t act on it within those 60 days, which in this case would be on April 30, then Healey’s plan would take effect.

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