WASHINGTON, DC (November 30, 2017): The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) – a coalition of employers, insurers, life science companies, PBMs, brokers, agents, patient groups, and physician organizations – today released a bold list of must-pass policy priorities that deserve Congressional action before year’s end.
These objectives were sent directly to Congressional staff in separate correspondence earlier today, and build on the coalition’s extensive outreach to Capitol Hill throughout the year – including numerous individual meetings, Congressional briefings, and a national policy summit with senior administration officials and Members of Congress in attendance.
“Patients, consumers, employers, providers, and payers have more than earned their way onto the ‘nice list’ this year as they’ve navigated the trend of rising health costs and regulatory uncertainty with aplomb. Now, it’s time for lawmakers to do their job and move quickly on these straightforward, bipartisan solutions we have identified that can and should be passed before year’s end to improve outcomes and lower costs for consumers this holiday season. Think of it as our ‘grownup Christmas list’ straight from the healthcare community to Capitol Hill,” said CAHC President Joel White.
CAHC’s priorities for the remaining days of the legislative year include:
- Repeal IPAB: CAHC President Joel White has called the Affordable Care Act’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) “a ticking time-bomb, preparing to enact sweeping, draconian cuts to Medicare reimbursement that would leave older Americans holding the bag.” CAHC has conducted an aggressive campaign advocating for IPAB repeal, holding dozens of individual meetings with Members of Congress and staff. Bipartisan bills exist in both chambers to repeal this harmful, indiscriminate cost-cutting panel, and the House has already passed this measure by a vote of 307-111. CAHC calls upon lawmakers to either hold a standalone vote on the Senate companion bill or insert this language into “must-pass” legislation before year’s end.
- Reauthorize CHIP: CAHC sounded the alarm on the need to act swiftly to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) weeks ago, noting that “a failure to allocate funding for CHIP would rip away coverage altogether from some nine million children – a callousness that is simply unimaginable.” CAHC previously endorsed the House-passed CHIP reauthorization measure, the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act, authored by Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR), and calls for its immediate consideration in the Senate.
- Delay or Repeal Taxes That Contribute to Rising Health Costs: CAHC has sharpened its focus on rising health costs in 2017, most recently holding a national summit on solutions to curb the healthcare cost trend. As the cost of care continues to climb, lawmakers should act to provide relief and bring certainty to patients, payers, and providers by delaying or repealing the Affordable Care Act‘s most onerous taxes, this includes the health insurance tax (HIT), the tax on over the counter drugs, the medical device tax, and the so-called “Cadillac tax.”
- Stabilize Markets and Provide Additional State Flexibility: CAHC strongly supports policies to provide states real flexibility under the ACA’s 1332 waiver program and to fund the unfunded mandate on private insurers for cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidy payments. Last month, CAHC announced its backing of the Alexander-Murray market stabilization bill, calling it “Washington’s best opportunity to date to break the healthcare logjam that, for too long, has trapped patients and their health plans in a maze of uncertainty.” CAHC is also appreciative of the work of Chairmen Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on an alternative proposal that includes additional reforms, such as lifting the cap on HSA contributions.
- Provide a Better Value for Prescription Drugs: In May, CAHC launched its Prescriptions for Affordability initiative, offering a blueprint for lowering prescription drug costs that is supported by patient advocates, employer groups, drug manufacturers, insurers, pharmacy benefit managers, and other diverse stakeholders. The proposal encourages value-based arrangements (VBAs) – reimbursing drugmakers for a product’s effectiveness instead of the volume of prescriptions – and offers reforms to address outdated laws that prevent Medicare beneficiaries from sharing in this innovative approach. While CAHC recognizes that many of these solutions will take time to be fully realized, there are steps that federal regulators could take right now to help advance this process and encourage more VBAs in the marketplace, including the creation of a safe-harbor for VBAs under Anti-Kickback regulations and exempting VBAs from Medicaid Best Price. All told, these reforms could save as much as $71 billion annually when fully implemented.
- Improve Data Sharing to Promote Medication Adherence: CAHC’s Prescriptions for a Healthy America campaign is focused on solutions to address medication nonadherence, a $300 billion problem that claims the lives of 125,000 Americans a year.Language included in the Senate-passed CHRONIC Care Act could help, by breaking down silos in a patient’s continuum of care that allow medication mismanagement to fester unseen. Specifically, the provision of the bill – mirrored in a standalone House bill authored by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) – would improve care coordination by establishing a process for Medicare to share information about hospitalizations or physician office visits with Part D prescription drug plans. This gives providers a better opportunity to recognize those most at risk of medication nonadherence and intervene before it is too late.
The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) is a broad-based alliance with a primary focus: bringing down the cost of health care for all Americans. CAHC promotes policies that lower health costs through increased competition, informed consumers and more choices to help promote access to affordable coverage. Learn more at CAHC.net.