Weekly Policy Blog: Congratulations to CBSA’s 2023 Legislators of the Year
By: Colorado BioScience Association Date: 11/20/2023
On November 15, 2023, CBSA held its 20th Annual Awards Celebration presented by AGC Biologics. This annual celebration highlights the spirit and drive of Colorado’s vibrant life sciences ecosystem, bringing together hundreds of leaders and innovators to applaud our successes and look ahead to the coming year.
CBSA presented awards to two Legislators of the Year. In a challenging state and federal regulatory environment, having champions at the state capitol is critical to the growth and success of Colorado’s life sciences ecosystem. CBSA’s Legislators of the Year have a deep understanding and appreciation for the global and human impact of the ecosystem’s discoveries and development efforts.
They recognize that the life sciences in Colorado are a key economic growth driver for the state, creating good, high-paying jobs and attracting capital investments. They consistently advocate for the sector and work for legislation that fosters health innovation. Both of CBSA’s 2023 Legislators of the Year are true policy partners and champions.
CBSA’s 2023 Legislator of the Year: Senator Dafna Michaelson Jenet
CBSA’s first 2023 Legislator of the Year is Senator Dafna Michaelson Jenet. Senator Michaelson Jenet understands the need for state regulations and insurance carriers to keep pace with all of the great advancements being made, so patients can access cutting-edge treatments and diagnostics. She sponsored a bill that would require insurance coverage for biomarker testing supported by nationally recognized clinical practice guidelines for diagnosis, treatment, and disease management. Biomarker testing saves time, money, and improves outcomes for patients. She is continuing to work on this legislation during the 2024 session.
In addition, Senator Michaelson Jenet sponsored another piece of legislation that will make it easier for people with a serious mental illness to get the medicines recommended and prescribed by their healthcare providers. It limits a practice called “step therapy.” This practice requires patients to try multiple medicines deemed more cost effective by their insurance carrier—and to have those therapies fail to provide benefit—before the carrier will cover the medication originally prescribed by the patient’s provider. The bill also shortens Medicaid’s Preferred Drug List review process. The legislation makes it easier for patients—who may be experiencing debilitating and life-threatening symptoms—to get the medicines they need. That bill was signed into law earlier this year.
CBSA’s 2023 Legislator of the Year: Representative Matt Soper
CBSA’s second 2023 Legislator of the Year is Representative Matt Soper. Representative Soper has strongly advocated for policy changes to make Colorado more competitive, nationally and internationally. Following discussions with CBSA President and CEO Elyse Blazevich and other leaders during the 2022 Bioscience & Cleantech Roadshow in Edinburgh, Scotland, led by Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, Representative Soper introduced legislation to create an Advanced Manufacturing and STEM Industries Task Force within Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Passed into law earlier this year, the bill allows leaders to make recommendations to the legislature for strategies, programs, and incentives that increase Colorado’s competitiveness with other states in growing our advanced industries.
Representative Soper also vocally opposed legislation expanding and extending the authority of Colorado’s Prescription Drug Affordability Board. His influence supported amendments that removed some of the most harmful provisions from the bill that ultimately passed the legislature.
Thank You and Congratulations!
Taken together, the policy changes these two lawmakers are responsible for bringing to fruition are helping to ensure the life sciences can thrive and the state of Colorado can compete and win in a fierce national and global environment.
Thank you and congratulations to CBSA’s 2023 Legislators of the Year, Senator Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Representative Matt Soper!