FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                            Contact: Summer Johnson

September 21, 2023                                                                                 sjohnson@riesterinfluence.com

 

PATIENTS RISING STATEMENT:

THE REAL FIGHT IN WASHINGTON HEALTH POLICY IS NOT A PARTY FIGHT

 

WASHINGTON — Patients Rising Executive Director MacKay Jimeson today released the following statement following yesterday’s hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations regarding drug pricing:

“Yesterday’s hearing highlighted a dangerous divide in American health policy that pits academics and government bureaucrats against patients, doctors, and innovators.

Despite the many flaws in our health system, America continues to be the world’s leader in health technology and medical innovation. That is a strength we must protect and cherish. Science, medicine and technology are our best hope for understanding, preventing and treating the most complex, expensive and difficult diseases that ail us.

The real health policy question to address is how we enable advances in science, medicine and technology to lower healthcare spending and increase patient satisfaction.

Academics and government employees believe they know what is best and they want a top-down approach to control healthcare decision making. This will lower healthcare spending by restricting and rationing medicine and care, but it will not solve the underlying problems of American healthcare.

Harvard Professor Aaron Kesselheim testified in today’s hearing that Medicare price setting provisions offer an incentive to pharmaceutical companies to invest in more meaningful innovation. Who determines what innovation is meaningful?  Dr. Kesselheim? Under the IRA, it certainly is not the patient, who may define value and benefit on different terms than health economists. Perhaps it is Kesselheim’s Harvard colleague, Professor Michael Chernew, who is also the Chair of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (Medpac), a body of academics that provide advice to congress on Medicare.

Rather than operating in service to Medicare patients, these academic advisors and CMS officials treat them like they are property of the government and have the authority to determine who is worthy of what type of care.

It is this attitude of empowering third party intermediaries that is the real cause of healthcare inflation and patient access and affordability issues. There is no such thing as a simple medical transaction today. They all require sign-off from a government or corporate bureaucrat. No one knows what anything really costs and all parties benefit from the spending of other people’s money, except for the patient.

No academic, government bureaucrat, insurance company, large health system, corporate pharmacy or pharmaceutical company has more of an interest in the long-term health and wellbeing of a patient than the actual patient or their caregiver.

Congress should instead focus on what is in the best interest of patients and that starts with radical transparency. The better path towards lowering spending and improving patient satisfaction is by exposing and eliminating the distortions, anti-competitive practices and warped incentives of today’s third party intermediaries.

Decreasing our reliance on healthcare intermediaries will enable level the playing field for entrepreneurs and disruptors to actually compete against the monied special interests throughout healthcare that have put a chokehold on the system. Patients need and want more options and more personal control over how they and their families receive and pay for healthcare, that includes health insurance products that actually protect against financial hardship.

Science, medicine and technology in the 21st Century looks much different from the mid-20th Century, when the foundation of the current American health system was laid. How we finance health care must evolve in the 21st Century to encourage and accommodate innovation so it can be the foundation that leads to lower healthcare spending and increases patient satisfaction.”

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Patients Rising 

Patients Rising NOW works with patients to advocate for access to the treatments, innovations and care they need. Its programming efforts focus on educating patients about the legislative process and empowering them to advocate for reforms to advance patient access, affordability, and transparency in healthcare.