State Issues & Policy

Bioscience Advocacy in the State of Ohio

BioOhio works in a non-partisan manner with state and federal agencies, officials, and representatives to promote Ohio’s bioscience industry, BioOhio members, and the health and prosperity of Ohio.

Government relations at the state level is focused on working with the Administration and General Assembly on ways to improve upon policies that retain Ohio companies and attract new bioscience businesses to Ohio.

On this page, you will find summaries and links relevant to recent BioOhio work in state government relations. If you would like to get involved or have questions about these issues, please contact a member of the BioOhio team.

Current State Policy, Issues, and Opportunities

The following are selected key areas of focus for BioOhio, our partners, and members. Use the links below for direct access to press releases, bill text, status, and testimony from proponents, opponents, and other interested parties.

Ohio House Bill 608 – BioOhio is in favor of this bill, which would require health plan and Medicaid coverage of biomarker testing. Click here to read more about this important legislation. On 5/31/22 Eddie Pauline, President & CEO testified in support of this bill. Read the full statement and watch the video.

The Graduating and Retaining Ohio’s Workforce (GROW) Ohio Act – On 4/5/2022 BioOhio President & CEO Eddie Pauline testified before the Ohio House Higher Education and Career Readiness Committee to support the GROW Ohio Act, House Bill 514, on behalf of the Ohio bioscience industry. BioOhio member companies offer high-quality career pathways with boundless opportunities for growth. But they need talented graduates to fill those roles. The GROW Ohio Act will allow students who graduate with an associate’s degree to use OCOG to obtain a bachelor’s degree, further enhancing their ability to pursue meaningful careers in the health and life sciences, and creating a talent pipeline for our member companies. We are asking the Ohio House Higher Education and Career Readiness Committee to approve the GROW Ohio Act to allow Ohio’s bio- and life sciences industry to continue to grow by investing in our most important resource: people. Read BioOhio’s full testimony (pdf) or watch the video via The Ohio Channel (Eddie @ 1:12).

Patient Protection from Co-Pay Accumulators – On 3/30/22 The Ohio House unanimously passed legislation that blocks health insurers from using policies called co-pay accumulators that disregard third-party payments toward patients’ deductibles, resulting in higher out of pocket costs. BioOhio joined 60 other organizations in supporting House Bill 135, sponsored by Reps. Susan Manchester, R-Waynesfield, and Thomas West, D-Canton. The bill now moves to the Ohio Senate. Read more.

Sickle Cell Disease: The State of Patients & Progress in Ohio – On 3/22/22 BioOhio President & CEO Eddie Pauline moderated a panel of experts who discussed current programs that assist patients and families, as well as how Ohio’s hospital and health systems are contributing to SCD research and advancements in treatment. Click here for a summary of the event (pdf)

• Essential Workers and Vaccinations (2/1/2021) – BioOhio, along with its national partner BIO, has asked Governor DeWine to consider certain bioscience industry personnel who reside and/or work in our state to be considered as essential workers slated to receive a COVID-19 vaccine during the early phases of immunization. Read the full letter here (pdf).

Biennial Operating Budget (H.B. 166):  In the spring and summer of 2019, BioOhio and state advocacy partners worked to mobilize and advocate for many policies supporting the state’s bioscience industry during the crafting of the state’s budget, including:  Keeping the initial International Pricing Index (IPI) language out of the final budget bill;  Allocation of $75 million to the Ohio Third Frontier to expand the reach of its regional Entrepreneurial Services Provider (ESP) programs; and steps toward prescription drug transparency were made by doing away with the current pharmacy benefits system in Medicaid managed care, and reinvesting $100 million back into Ohio pharmacies that lost money through “spread pricing” by PBMs.

HB 166 Prescription Drug Transparency and Affordability Advisory Council: The Council is tasked with providing recommendations to the General Assembly, Governor DeWine, and the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee regarding Ohio’s best path forward for issues such as prescription drug price transparency, affordable payment models, and health care efficiency. The Council on DAS.Ohio.gov  •  HB 166 on Legislature.Ohio.gov

HB 469 Accumulator Adjustment Policy Reform Legislation:  State Reps. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) and Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) co-sponsored House Bill 469, which will cut out-of-pocket prescription costs for patients. BioOhio signed onto several support letters in 2020 along with 50+ supporters of this legislation including BIO and PhRMA. Press Release  •  HB 469 on Legislature.Ohio.gov

Virtual Town HallsBioOhio’s virtual town halls and Friday Forums are constructive, neutral ground for discussion with federal and state legislators, policymakers, and advocates from all political parties and points of view. Past events have featured Sens. Brown and Portman and Reps. Stivers, Joyce, Gonzalez, and Lt. Governor Husted, among others. These roundtables give the community the opportunity to ask questions directly to their representatives and keep policymakers engaged with the industry and what it needs to grow and thrive. Visit the Past Events page for links to previous forums.

The Rare Disease Advisory Council (H.B. 412) (link):  State Reps. Randi Clites (D-Ravenna) and Tim Ginter (R-Salem) co-sponsored House Bill 412, bipartisan legislation that will create the Ohio Rare Disease Advisory Council. BioOhio was written into legislation to participate in the Council and has submitted testimony in July 2020. This Council is officially endorsed by BIO and PhRMA. Press Release  •  HB 412 on Legislature.Ohio.gov

InnovateOhio:  Under the leadership of Lt. Governor Jon Husted, InnovateOhio is advancing the DeWine Administration’s commitment to leading an aggressive, innovative path towards a better and stronger Ohio. InnovateOhio Official Website

Bioscience-related STEM Programs:  BioOhio supports state policies that encourage valuable educational opportunities in Ohio by expanding existing STEM programs and creating new ones. In addition to core components of STEM education, programs should incorporate new disciplines into this valuable curriculum, such as STEM+M, which brings aspects of the medical field into the classroom.

STEP Therapy Reform:  In January 2019, legislation was signed into law reforming how health plans apply requirements to patients needing certain medications. BioOhio is a proud member of the coalition that led efforts to change the law and participated in several Statehouse events promoting this legislation.

The CURE-Multistate Compact Bill:  BioOhio is monitoring the re-introduction of this legislation which would grant financial awards equal to the cumulative cost of an identified disease to taxpayers over 5 years to companies and organizations that find cures for major diseases and would create a new multi-state Solemn Covenant of the States Commission upon enactment by six states.

Ohio Bioscience Researchers Day:  In March 2019, BioOhio partnered with PhRMA and hosted this event at the Ohio Statehouse, giving BioOhio member institutions and company executives, researchers, scientists, and medical liaisons the opportunity to meet directly with their state legislators to discuss groundbreaking bioscience research and innovation happening right here in Ohio.