The Rozenboom Report by Senator Ken Rozenboom – April 12, 2019

Sen. Ken Rozenboom (R-District 40)

Sen. Ken Rozenboom (R-District 40)

by Sen. Ken Rozenboom

The 2019 legislative session is starting to wind down as we are voting on appropriations bills on a regular basis. While we have no agreement yet with the House or the Governor on what the final budget will look like for the next fiscal year, we continue to move forward with our Senate budget bills. We believe we have a budget that is responsible and sustainable. Our budget priorities this session include reliable and sustainable funding for K-12 education, health care, and public safety, as well as continuing to find ways we can provide tax relief for Iowa taxpayers.

We continue to advocate for a conservative, pro-growth agenda. Implementing those policies requires a conservative budget and conservative legislation to move our state forward. We have passed a series of welfare reforms to bring able-bodied people into the workforce, reduce fraud, ensure benefits are for Iowa residents and US citizens, and prevent deadbeat parents from receiving welfare dollars. We also passed a bill to ensure that the free speech rights of students at Iowa public universities are protected.

Some of these bills have been signed into law; some still await passage in the House, and others may not be considered until next session. As we continue our work in the Senate, I encourage you to reach out on bills and issues important to you.

Flood relief continues to be a major topic of conversation in the Iowa Legislature. Many parts of southwest Iowa remain under water and a full accounting of the damage may be weeks or months away. We in the Senate have been in regular contact with the governor to identify potential legislation to expedite recovery efforts and a plan is expected soon. However, the single most important aspect of flood relief is for Democrats in the U.S. Senate to stop opposing flood relief and approve the nearly $1.6 billion in aid requested by Governor Reynolds and approved by the president. These flood relief efforts will be focused on providing aid directly to those people in need.

The Iowa Senate unanimously advanced a bill this week aimed at shining the light on costs that help determine drug pricing. Senate File 563 deals with pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). PBMs are third-party companies who act as prescription drug middlemen to develop plans for state government employees, commercial health entities, and for employers who self-insure.

Nearly 70 percent of all prescriptions filled are by a PBM. Initially, the goal of the PBMs was to help consumers save money on their prescription medicine as well as share their expertise in complex formulary development. But it’s apparent that the PBMs have too much control over the drug pricing process, and transparency is lacking.

As the cost of prescription medicine rises, there is momentum in Iowa, in other states, and at the federal level to increase the transparency requirements for the PBMs in their operations. Iowa Senator Charles Grassley is taking up this issue in the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. This week the Iowa Senate followed suit.

The bill, which passed on a 49-0 vote, will make the rates negotiated more transparent, and shines more light on the entities receiving those rebates. PBMs will now be required to yearly report aggregate dollars received, all administrative fees, and the aggregate dollar amounts of rebates retained by the PBM and not passed through to the health carrier.

Though this bill does not directly impact prescription medicine prices, the transparency can help identify future steps to help rein in these rising costs.

As we wind up the session over the next few weeks, I encourage you to stay in touch by email or phone or, better yet, stop up at the Capitol to see the process in action.

Posted by on Apr 13 2019. Filed under Local News, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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