Legislative Update – Week of November 7, 2022

Nov 08, 2022

Last week:

The step therapy bill was signed into law in Massachusetts last week. The law prohibits insurance providers from requiring patients to pursue lower-cost treatments before approving coverage for more expensive medications. The law will accelerate access to lifesaving medications for patients who would otherwise be required to pursue often lengthy authorization processes. MassBio’s Chief of Corporate Affairs, Zach Stanley, wrote in support of step therapy in MassBio’s advocacy for the bill this summer.

Massachusetts lawmakers reached an agreement on the closeout budget for fiscal year 2022 and economic development bond bill, sending the $3.8 billion compromise to the Governor’s desk. The compromise legislation includes funding for healthcare, affordable housing, and MBTA safety improvements. Missing from the compromised bill is tax relief in the form of one-time tax rebates, estate tax reform, and tax breaks for renters, seniors, and others, all of which were included in the original legislation.

Some Massachusetts taxpayers will begin receiving tax refund checks this week with all eligible taxpayers expected to receive their refund by December. Massachusetts residents who paid personal income taxes in the 2021 tax year will receive refunds this fall from the state’s $2.9 billion in excess tax revenue. The refunds are triggered by a 1986 law, which requires excess tax revenue to be returned to taxpayers. The Baker Administration has launched a Tax Refund Estimator.

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Boston last week to rally support for Democratic candidates on the ballot November 8th. The Vice President also announced during her visit that the federal government will commit $13 billion nationwide to assist low-income individuals and families with heating costs this winter through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, known as LIHEAP. Massachusetts is expected to receive $160 million in federal funding.

This week:

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8. Voters across the U.S. will cast their ballots for representatives in Congress, local races, and some gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races. In Massachusetts, voters will decide on the next Governor between Democratic nominee Maura Healey and Republic nominee Geoff Diehl. Read MassBio’s blog on the four statewide questions on the Massachusetts ballot. Polls are open in Massachusetts from 7:00am to 8:00pm. Find your polling place and view a sample ballot.

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak joins MassBio CEO Joe Boncore for Policymakers Live virtual briefing on Thursday, November 10 at 1pm. General Manager Poftak will reflect on his past four years leading the MBTA and will discuss ridership, strategic initiatives, a review of recent infrastructure and maintenance work, and plans for upcoming projects. Register here to join!

Friday, November 11 is Veteran’s Day.

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