Last Wednesday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced plans to ensure all Americans “have access to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine at no cost when it becomes available.” The regulations will take effect immediately and aim to resolve potential legal issues regarding Medicare coverage of a vaccine that receives emergency use authorization from the FDA.
United States House Republicans introduced a $47 billion COVID-19 relief bill on Friday. $32 billion of the funding is directed towards vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, surge capacity, and telehealth, and $16 billion would go to additional testing and tracing. Key provisions include: additional funding for vaccine and therapeutic development and distribution, incentives for domestic manufacturing of medicines and medical devices, address COVID-19 health disparities and its impacts on mental health and substance use disorder, expand telehealth and Health Savings Accounts. You can view the full text of the bill, here.
In response to the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, Massachusetts Governor Baker announced a new stay-at-home advisory, which will go into effect at 12:01am Friday, asking all residents to be in their homes from 10pm to 5am. He signed an updated order related to face-coverings, requiring all persons to wear face coverings in all public places, even where they are able to maintain 6 feet of distance from others. Governor Baker also limited private indoor gatherings to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 25 people.
The Massachusetts House of Representatives may hold a formal session on Thursday, according to House Speaker Robert DeLeo. While there is no specific item on the agenda, State House News Service (paywall) notes that “possible action items include a spending bill closing the books on fiscal 2020, an order laying out procedures for overdue fiscal 2021 budget deliberations, or potential compromise bills from any of the five conference committees in place since July.” The compromise bills deal with policing reforms, economic development, healthcare, climate change, and transportation.
As of publishing this, there are no updates on election results. Check back for next week’s legislative update for a more in-depth look at the results and what they mean for the life sciences industry.