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Sacramento at a Glance — Over 60 Legislators attend CHI’s Back to Session Reception
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Over 60 Legislators attend CHI’s Back to Session Reception

On Jan. 21, CHI celebrated the value of innovation with state public policy and industry leaders in California’s life sciences sector. More than 60 legislators from both the Senate and the Assembly, legislative staff, biomedical industry executives, academic leaders and the patient community attended the Back to Session Reception in Sacramento. Speaker Toni Atkins kicked-off the evening by expressing her commitment to the continued growth of the life sciences in California and her San Diego district.

The evening was dedicated to CHI’s mission and efforts to strengthen relationships between policy makers and life sciences industry leaders. CHI recognized key state legislators who have proactively engaged and demonstrated their commitment to public policies that encourage biomedical research, investment, and innovation with California’s biomedical and medical technology innovators. This year, CHI presented Senator Holly Mitchell, Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, and Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen with the “2014 Life Sciences Champion Award” for their leadership in advancing biotechnology, biomedical sciences, medical device and pharmaceutical innovation in 2014.

“Senator Mitchell, Assemblymember Bonilla and Assemblymember Olsen have been tireless champions for biomedical innovation and access to care,” said CHI President & CEO Sara Radcliffe. “The guidance and leadership these hard-working members of the California State Legislature each bring to the table has been instrumental in nurturing our treasured life sciences ecosystem. We are pleased to recognize their efforts to advance sound public policy that spurs biomedical innovation, leading to a healthier population in California.”

“The life sciences industry is an economic pillar in California, employing over 270,000 people. It’s important that those of us in Sacramento work together to nurture this key backbone of our economy,” said Senator Mitchell. “I appreciate this award from CHI recognizing my contributions to fostering greater access to innovation and affordable treatments.”

“This past year I was pleased to work closely with CHI in developing coalitions for legislation that streamlined the process to obtain prescription medications and access to care,” said Assemblymember Bonilla. “I’m honored to receive this award and thank the California Healthcare Institute for their continued leadership on behalf of the State’s biomedical ecosystem.”

“I am truly honored to be recognized by the California Healthcare Institute for my work supporting California’s life sciences,” said Assemblymember Olsen, the Republican Leader of the Assembly. “Fostering responsible policies that spur scientific innovation to save lives and improve patients’ quality of life remains one of my top priorities. I look forward to continue working with CHI and its members to promote an environment that helps this crucial industry thrive.”

Click here to view photos from the Life Sciences Champions Awards Ceremony and Back to Session Reception. Click here to view CHI’s press release announcing the awardees.

CHI Board hosts Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León

On Jan. 22, CHI convened its first Board of Directors meeting of the new year. In addition to adopting state policy goals for 2015, the Board focused on the value of innovation that biopharmaceutical and medical device companies and our state’s biomedical research universities and institutes bring to saving lives. Click here to view CHI’s 2015 state policy agenda.


Eve Bukowski, CHI’s vice president of state government affairs introduced Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Le√≥n and highlighted his extensive legislative accomplishments. Sen. de Le√≥n provided the Board with his perspective on the economic outlook in California, tax revenues, spending, higher education, immigration and opportunities for medical innovation, particularly in the area of precision medicine.

There was Board discussion regarding his top goals for the year, included improving accessibility and affordability of higher education and climate change. The issue of patient access to new treatments and technologies was raised and de Le√≥n provided his advice on how to best educate legislators on the issue. There was also discussion about the economic power of the state’s biomedical industry, which in the opinion of de Le√≥n, will resonate well with legislators. He also noted that succinctly explaining the economic impact of diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s to legislators would be impactful.

Monthly Speaker Series with Asm. Rob Bonta, Assembly Health Committee Chair

CHI’s first Monthly Speaker Series of 2015 featured Chairman Rob Bonta. During the Jan. 22 meeting, more than 20 CHI members had the opportunity to engage and share their legislative priorities and concerns with Assemblymember Bonta. As the new Chairman of the Assembly Health Committee, Bonta is open to having discussions and working with CHI members on a number of health-related legislative initiatives.

Bonta discussed the upcoming legislative session and his priorities for health policy in California. The need for more healthcare access points for those newly insured by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medi-Cal reimbursement and the cost of specialty drugs were the top three priorities he outlined during the luncheon. CHI members had the opportunity to have an in-depth discussion about the value of medicine, devices and diagnostics in the healthcare system and how treatments enable patients to have a better quality of life, while also creating savings in the healthcare system. Additionally, CHI was able to educate the Assemblymember on how the life sciences sector proactively finds solutions that result in dramatic improvements to public health in California and the across the globe.

CHI’s next Speaker Series on Feb. 11 will feature Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez, the new Chairman of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Please contact Christina Hwee, CHI’s state government affairs associate (Hwee@chi.org or 916-233-3497) for more information or to RSVP for this exciting event.

In the News

Governor Appoints New Department of Health Care Services Director

On Jan. 26, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Jennifer Kent as the new director for the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), a state agency that oversees the Medi-Cal Program. Kent comes with years of healthcare experience, most recently serving as the Executive Director of Local Health Plans of California, an organization that represents 14 not-for-profit public health plans. Kent is committed to making the complex Medi-Cal managed care system more successful. Click here to learn more.

Health Issues High on Budget Panel List

Healthcare issues were brought up by legislators during the State Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review of the Governor’s budget proposal. The issues raised included the expansion of Medi-Cal, current monitoring of access and quality of Medi-Cal managed care plans, the shortcomings of the budget relating to health and human services and Medi-Cal subsidies. For more information, please click here.

800,000 Households Received Healthcare Subsidies in California

According to Covered California’s Executive Director Peter V. Lee, about 800,000 California households received $3.2 billion in federal healthcare subsidies, averaging over $5,200 per household last year. This announcement is a reminder for those eligible to sign up for the state exchange, the deadline is Feb. 15. Healthcare exchange customers will need to file their federal tax returns and more information can be found here.

ACA Cost to be 20 Percent Less Than Forecasted, Budget Office Says

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported Monday that President Obama’s healthcare law will cost about 20 percent less over the next decade than originally projected. It is forecasted that by the end of 2016, more Americans will be insured and states who have declined to expand Medicaid will reconsider. Many states are waiting to see how the Supreme Court will rule on the federal government’s ability to grant subsidies to insurance companies in many states. Read the full article at the L.A. Times.

CHI Legislative Events

Senate Health Committee Hearing – Cost of Healthcare

Date:            February 4, 1:30 pm PT   
Location:       State Capitol Room #4203

Monthly Speaker Series with Assembly Appropriations Chair Jimmy Gomez

Date:            February 11, 12:00 pm PT
Location:       CMTA Conference Room
1115 11th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814