Last week the Massachusetts state legislature appointed the conference committee that will work to finalize the final FY2021 budget. Senators on the committee include Senators Rodrigues, Friedman, and O’Connor; and House members include Representatives Michlewitz, Garlick, and Smola. Of interest is a provision included in the House version of the FY2021 budget which will allow patients to reduce their copay costs for prescriptions using manufacturer discount coupons at pharmacies through 2023. The Senate version did not address the topic. Negotiators are trying to wrap up work on this budget in order to avoid the need for an additional interim budget to keep the state government running through December. The current interim budget expired Monday, November 30.
President-elect Biden’s transition team announced that John Kerry, Massachusetts’ longtime U.S. senator who later served as Secretary of State under President Obama, will serve as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate and will also hold a climate-focused seat on the National Security Council.
Additionally, on Monday night the Cambridge City Council passed a substitute Order regarding the closure of non-essential businesses in Cambridge. The new Order no longer calls for the closure of non-essential businesses but instead asks the City Manager to work with the Metro Mayors Association on a regional strategy to combat the rise of COVID-19.
On Monday, Moderna became the second company to apply for emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. According to final analysis of its Phase 3 trial, Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine appears to be 94% effective. The FDA hearing for Moderna’s vaccine will be held on December 17th – one week after Pfizer and BioNTech’s on December 10th.
Additionally, the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) Advisory Council will meet on Wednesday to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare spending and costs. The meeting will take place and noon and can be accessed via the HPC YouTube Channel.