Today the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued its final rule for Medicare Part D which does not include the full range of proposed changes to drugs in the ‘six protected classes’ of cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, mental illness and organ transplants.
House Committee to Vote On Bills to Stop Harmful Insurance Rule Changes; Preserve Pre-Existing Condition Protections
Committee Will Also Vote On Bills to Address Prescription Drug Affordability
Washington, D.C.—Today the House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to approve a series of bills that would reverse harmful insurance rule changes, including the expansion of short-term limited duration insurance (STLD) plans, help lower out of pocket costs for consumers, and protect access to health care for people with pre-existing conditions. Additionally, the committee will likely approve several proposals to address drug affordability and drug development including the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act of 2019. The CREATES legislation addresses an important barrier to developing generic and biosimilar drug therapies.
A statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) follows:
“We commend the committee for moving forward with measures upholding critical patient protections under the health care law, increasing funding for navigators who help consumers find the right insurance for them, and initiating programs that will lower premium costs. One such measure reverses an administration rule that would allow for expanded access to inadequate insurance through short-term limited duration health insurance plans. Preventing the proliferation of these plans will help avert the destabilization of the individual insurance market and protect those in need of comprehensive coverage and all consumers who face unexpected illness from financial ruin. Short-term plans are exempt from covering pre-existing conditions or the essential health benefits and should not be sold alongside comprehensive health care products.
“Cancer patients, survivors and anyone with a serious illness must be guaranteed the ability to access comprehensive, affordable coverage without being charged more because of their condition or having unfair exclusions put on their care. Without access to meaningful coverage, individuals will be diagnosed with later stage disease, which is more expensive to treat and more difficult to survive.
“Part of such coverage includes access to affordable prescription drugs. ACS CAN supports the concepts included in the CREATES Act as well as those that increase generic drug competition. We look forward to examining the details of the final drug proposals to ensure they both lower patient out-of-pocket costs and maintain incentives for continued innovation.
“On behalf of families affected by cancer, we appreciate Congress making these important issues a priority and urge swift action to improve our health care system.”