Weekly Policy Update: Colorado BioScience Association Highlights State’s Life-Saving Medical Breakthroughs for Lawmakers
By: Colorado BioScience Association Date: 02/09/2018
This week we had a successful CBSA Day at the Capitol. At the event we heard from Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne on her top priorities, outlook on the opioid and substance abuse task force and the future of our state as it relates to healthcare. Lt. Governor’s remarks were a great opportunity for our companies to hear from State leadership and ask top of mind questions. Throughout the day CBSA members heard a report on the Association’s policy priorities, heard from legislators about their priorities, learned how to best engage legislators throughout the session, and garnered insight on the value of advocacy. We wrapped up the day with a life science showcase, which was a great opportunity for the Colorado General Assembly talk to our members and learn about the exciting innovations in our industry.
Thank you to the companies who participated in the life science show case:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Mighty Oak Medical
- Rocky Mountain Poison & Drug Center
- RxRevu, Inc.
- Silvergate Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
- Sharklet Technologies
- Terumo BCT
- Zimmer Biomet Spine
View the full photo album from the day on our Facebook page.
Also this week CBSA Vice President, Jennifer Jones testified on behalf of CBSA on HB18-1135: Extend Advanced Industry Export Acceleration Program. Thank you also to CBSA members who testified, wrote emails and called legislators stressing the value and impact of this important legislation. The bill would extend the advanced industries export acceleration program to businesses looking to expand and grow their business in international markets. This week the bill passed out of the House Business & Labor Committee and will now move to House Appropriations Committee. If you would like to get involved to advocate for the program please contact Jennifer Jones. And to read her full testimony click here.
BIPARTISAN BUDGET ACT OF 2018 SIGNED INTO LAW
This week Congress passed and the president signed into law the bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, the two-year budget deal would increase federal spending for defense as well as key domestic priorities, including many health programs. In this deal we’ve seen some good and some surprises as it relates specifically to our industry.
- Under the deal, funding available to the National Institutes of Health is raised by $2 billion over two years.
- Spending to address opioid and mental health crisis is raised by $6 billion over the next two years.
- It would repeal the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which was created as part of the Affordable Care Act – as a 15-member board appointed by the president and approved by the Senate – charged with proposing cuts to Medicare spending if spending exceeds a certain growth target.
- It would extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, for an additional four years. Last month’s spending bill had already extended the program for six years, so now CHIP will be funded for an entire decade.
- The bill has a provision that increases discounts that pharmaceutical companies must give seniors enrolled in the Medicare Part D drug plans, by making the “doughnut hole” smaller. This was a policy that was part of the Affordable Care Act, but the new legislation would speed up implementation by one year. Under the ACA, the pharmaceutical industry negotiated covering 50% of the costs of drugs for senior’s in Medicare’s coverage gap, under the provision industry would now be required to pay 70% of the cost of drugs for seniors in Medicare’s coverage gap.
- Medicare Part D is a successful program that relies on private market competition to hold down costs for seniors and taxpayers. Part D has consistently performed better than projected in the federal budget, costing the government 45% less than projected and saving beneficiaries about $1,200 a year. CBSA opposes proposals to enforce rebates and price controls on Medicare Part D, which would likely destabilize the program and decrease industry incentives to invest in new research and development.
We’ve reached out to our CO Delegation to express appreciation for the package including IPAB repeal, increased funding for the NIH and the CHIP extension. At the same time, we’ve voiced our concerns related to the proposed changes to the Medicare Part D program.