On April 27, RheumPAC held a virtual discussion with Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), during which RheumPAC donors received an insider’s perspective on healthcare legislation and the chance to discuss the ACR’s priorities with the chair of the Ways & Means Subcommittee on Health. Rep. Doggett controls the gateway for policies related to Medicare, as well as public and private payments for healthcare and biomedical research.
You Might Also Like
Explore This IssueJune 2021
Also By This Author
During a spirited Q&A, Rep. Doggett and the attendees had a productive dialogue on a variety of topics, including:
- Expansion of the Affordable Care Act;
- The status of workforce legislation and boosting Medicare-supported residency positions;
- The legislative outlook for streamlining prior authorization; and
- General drug pricing policies and Congress’ intent to rein in drug costs.
Rep. Doggett has a strong interest in addressing the soaring costs of prescription drugs in the U.S. and was excited to hear firsthand from the ACR community about these challenges and potential remedies. Attendees shared their experiences from day-to-day practice that drug prices have risen twice as fast in Medicare Part D than in Part B.
In the past, Rep. Doggett has supported policies to lower reimbursement for Part B drugs, so he was particularly interested to hear why the rheumatology community has opposed such policies and what solutions may be more reasonable.
Several attendees described their experiences to explain how pricing models proposed by prior administrations would put physician practices at serious financial risk and interrupt patient access to high-quality care. In addition, attendees were able to dispel the notion that providers have incentives to choose certain drugs, especially when it comes to Part B drugs.
We explained that, from the rheumatology perspective, relying on biosimilars to reduce costs, allowing the federal government to negotiate prices and increasing transparency would be better ways to rein in costs without straining providers and practices or limiting patient access.
Events like this one showcase the critical role that RheumPAC plays in ensuring the rheumatology community has a seat at the table. Through funds raised by ACR/ARP members, the ACR is able to have important discussions like these with influential legislators and educate them on the impact that proposed and enacted policies have on rheumatologists and their patients. Perhaps most importantly, these discussions give us the opportunity to share alternative approaches to reform that would not threaten rheumatology practices and access to care.
Having more opportunities to engage with members of Congress through additional resources will further enable the ACR to better advocate on behalf of rheumatology patients and providers.