Fall Back into Legislative Action !
Michael Borofsky, MD, PRS Advocacy Chair
Deborah Ann Shoemaker, PRS lobbyist
Summer is almost over, with fall just around the corner. September brings a flurry of activity at the federal, state and local level.
Our partners at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the Coalition of State Rheumatology Organizations (CSRO) keep us abreast of federal congressional grassroots advocacy priorities and areas of focus under the jurisdiction of the Biden Administration. This summer, ACR and CSRO have focused their efforts on Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) reform, support of proposed Co-Payment Accumulator legislation (HELP Co-Pays Act), and for additional funding for healthcare workforce reform (just to name a few).
Pennsylvania has been embroiled in a battle over the enactment of the 2023-2024 state budget. Governor Shapiro’s first state budget address was full of promise- including hopes that negotiations would be fast, easy AND ON TIME. However, with a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and a Republican-controlled Senate, smooth sailing was not in the cards this time.
Pennsylvania’s constitution requires an enacted state budget by June 30th. Senate leadership dug their heels in on one specific issue- school vouchers. Negotiations between House and Senate leaders broke down. Then, constituent pressure forced the Senate into meeting in August. Governor Shapiro enacted a bare-bones budget in early August (House Bill 611- now Act 1A of 2023) to allow essential services to continue without interruption. When the state legislature returns in mid-September, their primary area of focus is to pass fiscal code bills to fund the entire state budget.
With an uncertain fall state legislative agenda, this is a perfect time for us to “fall back into legislative action.” While we wait for our issues to see the light of day, members can take time to check out the advocacy section of our website. Join our advocacy committee! We cannot wait for you to join us as we advocate for your colleagues and your patients.