(Boston, MA) - Statement from Health Care For All’s Executive Director Amy Rosenthal regarding the state budget proposal released by the budget conference committee for FY2020:
“Health Care For All thanks the conference committee for proposing an FY2020 state budget that promotes access to health coverage and care in the Commonwealth.
“Prescription drugs are critical for curing disease and maintaining health. However, prescription drug prices continue to rise rapidly, with MassHealth pharmaceutical spending nearly doubling over the past five years.
“The language in the final budget represents a major step forward for reining in the cost of prescription drugs in the MassHealth program. We are especially heartened by the inclusion of provisions that create the necessary incentives to bring drug manufacturers to the table to negotiate fair prices. By allowing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to both develop a proposed value of a drug as well as have a public hearing if MassHealth cannot reach agreement with the drug manufacturer on a fair price, the Legislature has created an important process that will save money for the MassHealth program, the state and taxpayers while also protecting the 1.8 million residents who rely on the MassHealth program for their health care.
“Health Care For All is deeply grateful to the Governor for his leadership in this area, as well as the persistent efforts of Senate President Spilka, Speaker DeLeo, Chair Rodrigues, Chair Michlewitz and the other members of the conference committee to reach a compromise. Their leadership and commitment to the needs of consumers are deeply appreciated.
“In the coming months, we encourage the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to move forward quickly with this new process. Lawmakers will also have an opportunity to continue to address prescription drug costs for individuals who have private health insurance by passing comprehensive legislation that is currently before the Health Care Financing Committee. We look forward to working with the Legislature to pass this bill to further protect individuals, employers and the state from the unsustainable rising prescription drug costs.”