Making the System Work for Our Patients
At the end of the day, we must make all of this work for our patients. The ability of our patients to access our unique, incomparable care, and to have access to the right treatments at the right time, is of key importance for our patients to have better outcomes and healthier, more productive lives. Regardless of how fantastic the treatments become, they are of no use at all if our patients cannot access them.
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Explore This IssueApril 2013
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The ACR took the lead in efforts to increase access to biologic medicines. We worked with the Arthritis Foundation and formed the Coalition for Accessible Treatments, which now has 18 national physician societies and patient groups working toward this common goal. We have been instrumental in developing and advancing the Patients’ Access to Treatments Act in the U.S. House (H.R. 460) and continue to work toward sponsorship in the Senate. I was encouraged recently by meetings in which ACR staff and I were joined by Arthritis Foundation leaders and patients to visit Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) to make our case for this bill. Congress must act to limit excessive cost sharing imposed upon patients requiring biologic drugs and other expensive treatments. We must assure access to the best treatment options possible for our patients.
We are also working with members of Congress on ways to reduce the costs of treatments themselves, including allowing Medicare to negotiate the prices of Part D drugs with manufacturers. There is much work to be done to ensure that the promise of these therapies can actually be fulfilled for all of our patients.
I want to express my sincere gratitude for the effort that each of you has put into these critical issues, for channeling your passion into meaningful action. I want to ask that you not only continue your work through the ACR, but that—because of the great promise of this moment—we all increase what we are doing as individuals. Advocacy is the key to ensuring a healthy future for our profession and to sustaining our unencumbered ability to provide excellent care to our patients. At this time of unprecedented opportunity, we need you to dig in and give more. We need everyone to do his or her part. Meet with your representatives in Congress in their home offices, use the ACR’s resources to maintain communications with them, and go with your colleagues to see them again in Washington, D.C., this September. Share your expertise and your voice as the ACR weighs in with our national policy makers. Give to RheumPAC—help us help you. I am confident that we have the strength to seize this moment, and we will successfully fulfill the promise of these times.