Legislative Update: Week of August 19, 2019

Aug 19, 2019


In response to the Trump Administration’s proposal to import prescription drugs from Canada, Canada’s health minister met with pharmacists, patients, and industry officials on Monday, pledging to “ensure there are no adverse effects to the supply or cost of prescription drugs in Canada.” Canadian’s have a variety of measures through which they can stop this proposal from gaining traction, including: adding prescription drugs to Canada’s “export control list,” pass a law explicitly banning exports of drugs meant for Canadians, or imposing tariffs/taxes on drugs. This is just the first of step in a long and complicated process involving trade laws and international treaties.

In Massachusetts, six new T cars – the first of 152 to be rolled out by 2022 – began service on the MBTA Orange Line. The trains are expected to improve system reliability as they continue to replace the decades-old cars currently in service. New trains will continue to be introduced and will work their way up to full-day schedules as engineers continue to analyze its data and metrics. Additionally, Harvard Pilgrim and Tufts Health Plan signed an agreement to merge on Wednesday night. Together, the new entity will bring together its collective 2.32 members in Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, challenging Massachusetts’s largest insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield, with 2.8 million members.


Massachusetts was one of six states selected to receive a $100K workforce development grant that will help build “data-driven approaches” to link Massachusetts residents to jobs in growing industries. This grant comes from a partnership between the National Governors Association and the Strada Education network.

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