Legislative Update – Week of June 26, 2023

Jun 27, 2023

Last week 

In DC, on Wednesday, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce HELP Subcommittee took its turn to examine healthcare market consolidation with a hearing, “Competition and Transparency: The Pathway Forward for a Stronger Health Care Market.” Members of Congress primarily focused their questions on the lack of transparency in the PBM space as well as hospital consolidation. 

In Massachusetts, on Wednesday, Governor Healey filed an interim budget to keep the state running through July as lawmakers continue to hash out a compromise budget for the new fiscal year that begins July 1. The $6.66 billion budget would authorize spending on “necessary services” through July 31 or until a complete fiscal 2024 state budget is signed by the governor. Massachusetts needs some budget in place when fiscal year 2024 starts July 1, and Healey asked lawmakers to act on her interim budget no later than Monday, June 26 “to ensure that the Commonwealth will be able to meet its payment obligations without delays.”  

The Healey administration on Thursday rolled out its five-year capital spending plan, which calls for $14 billion in spending with a focus on investments in roads, housing, climate projects, and economic development.  Healey’s $14 billion plan is slightly higher than the five-year plan former Gov. Charlie Baker presented last year, which laid out a blueprint for close to $13.9 billion in total state bond cap spending. Governors update and release the state’s capital spending plan each year. Healey is dedicating $35 million to the Mass Life Science Center and $18.3 million to the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Institute. 

This week 

In DC, Congress has departed for a two-week recess and will return on Monday, July 10th

In Massachusetts, at the invitation of Ambassador Claire Cronin, Cathaoirleach Jerry Buttimer and the JFK Library Foundation, Governor Maura Healey will travel to Ireland to address Seanad Éireann (the Irish Senate) on the 30-year anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Ireland. Her visit also coincides with the 60th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s state visit to Ireland, which launched a new era of economic and cultural partnership between the United States and Ireland, particularly around trade and investment.  In keeping with this close relationship, Governor Healey will also host a series of business development meetings with Irish leaders of key industries, such as technology and clean energy.  

The conference committee tasked with negotiating a consensus version of the differing House and Senate tax relief will hold its first meeting on Monday. Senator Rodrigues and Representative Michlewitz, who is also in the midst of conference talks over the fiscal 2024 general budget, chair the six-member committee. The other conference committee members are Senator Moran, Representative Cusack, Senator Tarr, and Representative Soter. 

A busy week of hearings at the State House. On Monday, the Joint Committee on Financial Services holds a hearing on bills related to mental health and consumer protection health insurance issues. Of interest to our industry is H943, An Act to reduce co-pays for people with chronic conditions. On Tuesday, the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight holds a hybrid public hearing on bills related to general construction and state agencies. Of interest to our industry is H3009, An Act creating a workforce skills cabinet supporting pathways to success. 

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