IowaBio Bill Tracker - March 1, 2019
The funnel deadline, March 8, is rapidly approaching. Most bills other than Appropriations, Ways and Means, or Government Oversight bills must be passed out of a committee in one chamber to remain alive. The Senate Republicans proposed a status quo total budget of $7.6 Billion for FY2020. The Senate proposal is lower than the House and Governor’s proposals.
The PBM transparency bills IowaBio supports, HF489 and SF347, moved rapidly through subcommittee and the House bill moved through the Commerce Committee unanimously. While the Senate bill will be amended, we expect it to move out of committee next week.
A Senate subcommittee was held on the non-medical switching bill IowaBio supports, SF292. Wellmark and other insurers, PBMs, and business groups oppose the bill. Wellmark spoke at the subcommittee about high drug prices and the lack of transparency surrounding drug price increases, on drugs like insulin. Wellmark put forth and amendment at the subcommittee for consideration, that would give the Iowa medical Assistance Drug Utilization Review Commission, created under Iowa Code Section 249A.24, the power to approve or disapprove drug price increases, and require public hearings for requested drug price increases, for Medicaid. For a copy of this amendment, contact Jessica Hyland. The bill now goes to the full Senate Human Resources committee, and is on the agenda for Monday. The companion bill HF204, did not move out of subcommittee on the House side.
A subcommittee was held Monday on Future Ready Iowa appropriations bill HSB179, which IowaBio supports that would fund Future Ready Iowa programs aimed at upskilling Iowa’s workforce. Many business groups and associations are registered in favor of the legislation.
In federal news, executives from large pharmaceutical companies AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck & Co., Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Sanofi, appeared before the Senate Finance Committee for a hearing on drug pricing. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley chairs the committee. Additional hearings on drug pricing on the House side and PBM hearings will likely be scheduled soon.
This week, IowaBio Executive Director, Jessica Hyland, traveled to Washington, D.C., to connect with Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) staff, learn about available resources, and to meet with members of Iowa’s federal delegation. (For those of you who enjoy social media—she made it onto Senator Grassley’s Instagram feed.)