February 17, 2021
The Honorable Patty Murray Chairman Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee 154 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510
The Honorable Ron Wyden Chairman Senate Finance Committee 219 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510
The Honorable Richard Burr
Ranking Member Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee
217 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
The Honorable Mike Crapo Ranking Member, Senate Finance Committee 219 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Chairman Murray, Chairman Wyden, Ranking Member Burr, and Ranking Member Crapo:
On behalf of Patients Rising, the organization representing the voice of millions of Americans living with chronic illness, I write to raise awareness of our priorities during the Congressional hearings on the nomination of Xavier Becerra to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Patients Rising is a 100,000 member-organization of patients and caregivers living with chronic illness. We work with patients to advocate for access to the treatments, innovations and care they need. Our numerous patient programs and initiatives, including Patients Rising Concierge, Patients Rising University, Voices of Value, and Patients Rising NOW, educate patients about the legislative process and empower them to advocate for reforms to advance patient access, affordability, and transparency in healthcare.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services oversees the health and well-being of Americans. Together, with patients and the federal government, we share the agency’s objective to advance sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services. Our organization has engaged with HHS in the past to inform them of the impact of healthcare policies on Americans with chronic disease. These include our concern around their copay accumulator and six protected classes policies, as well as our enthusiastic support of the transparency rule.
For Patients Rising, our pro-patient agenda addresses critical priorities to work with the Department of HHS and Congress. The Secretary-designate should work to get patients out of the middle of the drug price wars.
Patients Rising supports a nominee who will empower patients and their families by:
- Addressing the root causes of financial toxicity that harm patients by bringing the issue of poor benefit design and not just the costs themselves to the healthcare finance conversation.
- Allow for and provide additional financial tools and options for patients to make their healthcare dollars stretch further.
- Strengthen the Essential Health Benefits and hold health plans accountable for covering a broad range of therapies and treatments with nominal out-of-pocket cost to patients.
- Give patients more control by making a variety of health plans available to them, including a public option.
Patients Rising supports a nominee who will support the advancement of medical innovation by:
- To speed up development and approvals of new medicines, empower regulators at the FDA to more rapidly incorporate advances in regulatory science, such as biomarkers, patient-reported outcomes, real-world data, and simultaneous review.
- Develop pathways for the FDA and states to approve access to new therapies. • Eliminate the Most Favored Nations rule, which threatens access to lifesaving medications for Medicare Part B patients and does little to lower the overall cost of drugs for a majority of Americans.
Patients Rising supports a nominee who truly wants to reform healthcare finance in the interest of patients and their families:
- Ensure states have the tools and flexibilities to offer a range of health insurance products to meet the coverage needs of their residents.
- Ensure that plans regulated under ERISA cannot avoid compliance with state-based regulations. • Establish a healthcare finance and payment model that rewards improvements in the long-term care of patients.
- Not allowing flawed coverage recommendations based on inappropriate measurements – including the use of Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY).
Patients Rising is engaged on all issues impacting patients with chronic disease and looks forward to working with the Department of HHS and the Senate Committees on these issues during the 117th Congress. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 202-750-4331.
Executive Director, Patients Rising and Patients Rising Now