John was elected to his sixth term in 2020, and he continues to fight for policy change in areas that will build a stronger Commonwealth and support his district. A full list of the legislation he filed can be found here, and below is a list of some of his legislative priorities for the 2021-2022 session.
Health Care Legislation
SD246 – An Act promoting continuity of care for multiple sclerosis treatment
This legislation ensures individuals living with multiple sclerosis (MS) are not forced to give up beneficial disease modifying treatments prescribed if a health insurer decides to change its formulary. MS is a chronic disease with no cure, so maintaining continuity of insurance coverage for proven medications is critical for these patients.
SD1716 – An Act to ensure more affordable care
In response to rising consumer health care costs (co-pays, deductibles, and insurance premiums), this bill:
-Eliminates co-pays for certain treatments for eight conditions that disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income communities: diabetes, asthma/COPD, hypertension, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, opioid use disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia;
-Creates a reinsurance program to support small businesses; and
-Ensures availability of $0 health plans for low-income ConnectorCare members
Mental Health and Substance Use
SD242 – An Act relative to dual diagnosis treatment coverage
While we removed the need for prior authorization for acute treatment and clinical stabilization services for 14 days of substance use treatment in 2014, those with dual diagnoses of a substance use and mental health disorder have difficulty being covered when seeking care at a mental health facility. This bill would update language so that dually diagnosed individuals can still be covered for substance use treatment when at a facility licensed or certified by the Department of Mental Health or Department of Public Health.
SD1724 – An Act to protect children’s mental health services
This bill would establish an ombuds position within the Office of the Child Advocate in order to identify barriers to effective child mental health treatment, to propose solutions, to monitor compliance with relevant statutes, and to resolve complaints filed on behalf of a child.
SD689 – An Act relative to recovery coach licensure
This legislation supports efforts to build a larger behavioral health workforce and increase the availability of peer-to-peer recovery support services by creating a standardized process for certifying recovery coaches. Certification of these workers is critical to promote payer reimbursement of these important services.
Transportation and the Environment
SD1340 – An Act relative to commuter transit benefits
This bill supports commuters by aligning MA’s tax code with the federal tax code for commuter transit benefits (increasing the amount that can be claimed from $130 to $265) and by allowing individuals and couples to claim RTA fares, bikeshare memberships, and personal bike costs as tax deductions.
SD1548 – An Act expanding access to commuter transit benefits offered by employers
This bill incentivizes public transit use by requiring employers with 20 or more employees to offer a commuter transit benefit, by which employees can pay for or purchase transit services on a pre-tax basis. This program would save employers money on payroll taxes and would save employees money on income taxes.
SD809 – An Act ensuring equal access to medical treatments essential for people with a developmental disability, intellectual disability, or autism
This bill expands MassHealth coverage for applied behavioral analysis (ABA services) to adults diagnosed with a developmental disability, an intellectual disability, or autism spectrum disorder. Currently, these services are only covered by MassHealth for those under the age of 18.
SD743 – An Act to create a facilities loan program for private special education schools
This bill would enable our Chapter 766 special education schools to qualify for no-interest or low-interest loan programs for construction and upgrades. Currently, these schools are not eligible to participate in the traditional MSBA program even though they educate our public school students and their school facilities face similar upgrade and repair needs.