Pluribus AM: Florida’s plan to save big on Rx drugs

Good morning, it’s Monday, January 8, 2023. In today’s edition, FDA allows Florida to import Canadian drugs; Louisiana Gov. Landry inaugurated; Michigan, Florida Republican Parties in chaos:

Top Stories

Lawmakers in Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas and Washington kick off legislative sessions today. Welcome back to work!

HEALTH CARE: The Food and Drug Administration said it would authorize Florida’s first-in-the-nation plan to import pharmaceutical drugs from Canada. Florida must submit additional information to the feds about what drugs it plans to import, but the plan could save the state up to $180 million in the first year alone. (Pluribus News)

Colorado’s application to import drugs from Canada is working its way through the system. Similar plans are in earlier stages in Vermont, Maine and New Mexico.

MORE: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (R) will make another push to convince the legislature to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. In a call on Friday, Kelly said she would push to make expansion the top issue in legislative races this year. (Kansas Reflector) Senate President Ty Masterson (R) and House Speaker Dan Hawkins (R) say they remain opposed to expansion. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) has signed an executive order banning hospitals and surgical facilities from performing gender transition surgeries on minors. The order comes a week after DeWine vetoed legislation that would have banned gender-affirming care, including puberty blockers and hormone therapy, for minors. (Ohio Capital Journal, Columbus Dispatch)

No Ohio hospitals actually perform gender transition surgeries on minors.

ABORTION: Missouri lawmakers have proposed new restrictions on abortion rights, including making it illegal for employers to assist employees in obtaining abortion services, excluding abortion facilities or affiliates from Medicaid programs, and preempting federal action meant to legalize abortion. (KCUR)

Looming in the background: Abortion rights proponents are trying to qualify a constitutional amendment for the state ballot this year.

EDUCATION: Idaho Republicans plan to reintroduce a measure to allow students to use state funds to pay for education expenses. An education savings account plan failed last year, but this time, lawmakers are proposing a tax rebate that would achieve the same goal. The proposal would grant $5,000 in refundable tax credits for education expenses. (Idaho Statesman)

WATER: Colorado River states are racing to reach agreements on long-term water-sharing deals ahead of this year’s elections, when changing administrations could set back talks. The federal Bureau of Reclamation has asked states to propose an agreement by early March so it can issue draft regulations by December, just before a president is inaugurated. (New York Times)

In Politics & Business

LOUISIANA: Gov. Jeff Landry (R) was inaugurated Sunday, ahead of formally assuming office as the state’s 57th governor at noon today. Landry was sworn in early because of the threat of adverse weather hitting the state today. U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) attended the inauguration. (Associated Press, Baton Rouge Advocate)

When they formally assume office today, Secretary of State Nancy Landry (R), no relation to the governor, and Attorney General Liz Baker Murrill (R) will be the first two women to hold those offices.

FLORIDA: The Florida Division of Elections has validated more than 911,000 signatures backing a proposed constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights, well over the threshold supporters needed to qualify for the November ballot. The state Supreme Court plans to hear arguments in a legal challenge to the proposed amendment on Feb. 7. (Pluribus News)

Remember, constitutional amendments in Florida require 60% of the vote to pass. Ohio’s Issue 1 passed last year with 56.8% of the vote.

MORE: Florida Republicans will hold a special meeting Monday to vote on whether to remove chairman Christian Ziegler as Ziegler faces a police investigation into a rape allegation. Party leaders suspended Ziegler last month, but he has refused to resign. (Associated Press)

MICHIGAN: Michigan Republicans voted Saturday to remove chairwoman Kristina Karamo from office, but Karamo refused to recognize the vote. The dispute sets the stage for a likely court fight between rival factions just ahead of a presidential election in a swing state. (Associated Press, Detroit Free Press)

WISCONSIN: Gov. Tony Evers (D) won’t decide yet whether to seek a third term in 2026. Wisconsin is one of a few states that doesn’t have gubernatorial term limits. Evers says it’s too early to make a decision. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

No Democrat has ever won more than two terms as Wisconsin’s governor, though a few Republicans have managed the feat — most recently Tommy Thompson, who served four terms.

By The Numbers

$11 billion: The amount of federal money Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) administration has rejected in the last few years. The rejected programs include Medicaid expansion, rebates for energy-saving appliances, summer lunches for low-income children and a program cutting vehicle emissions. (Orlando Sentinel)

$900 million: The amount Arizona’s school voucher program is expected to cost this fiscal year, up from $64 million the legislature initially estimated. The number of students participating skyrocketed to 73,000 after the legislature voted to allow all students to use vouchers for private school tuition and other education costs. (Associated Press)

$375 million: The spending cuts Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey (D) plans to announce Monday, including deep cuts to local earmarks. Healey’s administration said last week that tax revenues are running $769 million, or about 4%, behind projections. (Boston Globe)

Off The Wall

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has appointed John Fervier to lead the state Election Board ahead of this year’s presidential contest. Fervier currently works as vice president of risk management and security at Waffle House. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

If there’s anyone who knows how to handle high-pressure situations and break up late-night fights, it’s someone who’s worked security at Waffle House.

The town of East Palo Alto, Calif., recorded 42 murders in 1992, the highest per capita rate of any city in the nation. In 2023, the town recorded zero homicides. City officials said the end of drug wars that once ravaged the town helped end violence. (Los Angeles Times)

At stake tonight in the college football national championship game: Booze. If the University of Washington wins, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) will send Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) a pack of Haze and Blue IPA from Big Lake Brewing. If the Wolverines win, Inslee owes Whitmer a case of wine from Naches Heights Vineyard. (Detroit News)

We aren’t unbiased in this one. Go Huskies.

Quote of the Day

“All the states, all the private, all the public health plans — including the federal government — are going to be under siege because of the cost.”

North Carolina Treasurer Dale Folwell (R) on the increasing costs to state health care plans of GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic, Mounjaro and Trulicity that help people lose weight. Medicaid spent $7.9 billion on those drugs in 2022, up from $3.3 billion in 2020. (Bloomberg)