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Weekly Policy Update: Colorado State Budget and Forecast, Plus CBSA Voices Concerns on Drug Pricing Legislation

Last week the non-partisan Legislative Council published the forecast for the economy and state government revenue through FY 2019-20. The forecast showed that while the economy will continue to grow in 2019 and 2020, it is expected to slow as a result of global economic slowdown and stronger headwinds from tightening labor markets. It also indicated that revenue projections for this year are down $270 million, which means the General Assembly has $1.18 billion that they can spend or save in the General Fund.

The Governor’s office came to a different conclusion. The Office of State Budget and Planning (OSBP) also released a forecast that suggested new revenues would cover the cost of the Governor’s budget proposal and allow the Administration to implement their priorities, including statewide full-day kindergarten.

But it’s the Legislative Council’s more conservative figures that the Joint Budget Committee relied on when they drafted the state budget bill that will move to the Senate next week. The budget contains $185 million dollars to cover a portion of the funding for full-day kindergarten, but additional funds would be needed. It also includes $30 million for investment in highways, $77 million to bring down the budget stabilization factor, $40 million to spend on new programs, $70 million on capital construction, and a 13% investment in gross to higher education.

We were encouraged to see that the budget bill also maintains the same level of funding for bioscience grants within the AI Accelerator Grants Program, which is critical to our industry in Colorado.

As the state budget bill heads to the Senate next week, CBSA will continue to work to ensure our key priorities remain intact. You can find more information about the Economic and Revenue Forecast here.

Also this week, CBSA testified in opposition to two state bills.

On Wednesday CBSA testified in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee in opposition to House Bill 1131 - Prescription Drug Cost Education, citing concerns that the information the bill requires manufacturers to disclose is already public information and sharing that piece of information in isolation with prescribers could be misleading. We also asked for the bill to explicitly exclude conversations that are educational or scientific from the disclosure requirement and to allow manufacturers to refer to a third-party website for information on the price of 3 generics or biosimilars.

At the hearing, the Committee adopted an amendment to address the distinction between marketing conversations with intent to sell and conversations that are educational or scientific, limiting the disclosure requirements to conversations for marketing purposes. In light of this change, CBSA has moved to a neutral position on the bill.

On Wednesday CBSA also testified in the House Health and Insurance Committee in opposition to House Bill 1216 – Reduce Insulin Prices. While we recognize the need for more information about the pricing of insulin, we shared concerns about the broad scope of an Attorney General investigation without adequate protections for proprietary information and stressed our support for policies to pass rebates on to patients at point of sale as a meaningful way to reduce out-of-pocket costs (a provision that was removed from the bill in Committee.)

A complete list of CBSA’s positions on 2019 state legislation can be found here.

If you have any feedback or comments on these bills or any of CBSA’s recent positions please contact Emily Roberts, eroberts@cobioscience.com.

 



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