The ACR will be back on Capitol Hill Sept. 26 to advocate for lower out-of-pocket costs of prescription drugs and the repeal of arbitrary Medicare therapy caps, as well as to shed light on the role of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in drug pricing. But it will take the voice of all rheumatology professionals and patients to get Congress to act.
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How can you help us strengthen the ACR’s message in D.C.? Write, call or email your legislators using the ACR’s Legislative Action Center. As a constituent, your members of Congress are elected to represent you. Ask them to support the following priorities:
Reduce Patients’ Out-of-Pocket Expenses
- Ask your representative in the House to co-sponsor H.R. 2999, the Patients’ Access to Treatments Act (PATA), which would limit patients’ cost-sharing requirements for specialty-tier drugs and increase access to life-saving biologics.
- Ask your senator to introduce PATA in the Senate. You can also sign a member letter requesting a Senate hearing.
Repeal Medicare Therapy Caps
- Ask your representative in the House to support H.R. 807, the Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act, which would repeal the cap on outpatient rehabilitation services.
- Ask your senator to co-sponsor S.253, the Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act.
In addition, you can help expose the role of PBMs in prescription drug pricing to your representatives and senators:
- PBMs can drive up drug costs by creating market pressure for higher list prices (the higher the list price, the higher the rebate).
- PBMs use their position to negotiate contracts with manufacturers, insurers and pharmacies that maximize their profits, often at the expense of patients.
- PBMs use spread pricing, in which they charge an insurer a different amount for given drugs than what they reimburse the pharmacy for dispensing the drugs. This may be kept as extra profit by the PBM.
- PBMs use drug-switching practices, which increase profits by steering patients toward expensive medications whose manufacturers pay rebates to PBMs for promoting a particular drug.
Other Ways to Get Involved
How can you be an effective advocate when members of Congress are at home?
- Invite your legislators to your office. This is a great opportunity to educate members of Congress on the importance of the rheumatology subspecialty and the effect that arthritis and rheumatic conditions have on quality of life.
- Meet with your legislators in their district office. An in-person meeting is an effective way to convey your message and allows you to build relationships with your legislators.
- Volunteer for a campaign. Volunteering is a great way to get involved in the political process. Support the candidate who will best represent the rheumatology community.
We must stay united if we want to effect change, so contact your elected officials and make your voice heard. To find your legislators’ contact information or for more information on ACR advocacy activities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.rheumatology.org/advocacy.