In this testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee on May 21, 2019, Frederick Isasi, Executive Director of Families USA, breaks down the problem with high drug prices and potential solutions under consideration by the committee. While high drug prices are a source of seemingly constant debate in Washington, D.C., for millions of America’s families, they are a painful and burdensome reality and can impact the basic necessities of life.
Families USA submitted the attached letter to U.S. House of Representatives Leadership in support of H.R. 987, the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act.
Families USA submitted comments on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Request for Information (RFI) concerning Health Care Choice Compacts. This RFI seeks to “facilitate the purchase of health insurance coverage across state lines.” We have long expressed concerns about policies that are designed to allow the sale of coverage across state lines if these policies do not include robust consumer protections.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently proposed significant cutbacks to federal funding for states implementing the ACA’s Basic Health Program (BHP) option. Minnesota and New York have used this option to provide their residents with substantially more affordable coverage. Under BHP, a state can provide residents up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) with insurance that has lower deductibles and premiums than would be charged for private insurance in a health insurance marketplace.
Families USA submitted this comment to Secretary Azar on the proposed safe harbor rule changes. Under the proposed rule, discounts awarded by prescription drug manufacturers to plan sponsors under Medicare Part D and Medicaid managed care organizations or their contracted Pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) would no longer be eligible for safe harbor under the Federal anti-kickback provisions of the Social Security Act.
On January 17, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule that would raise consumers’ out-of-pocket costs for health care under individual and employer-sponsored health insurance plans, and decrease premium assistance in the individual marketplace.
Late last year, the Trump administration released a proposed rule as part of its efforts to lower prescription drug prices that, if finalized, could have a significant impact on Medicare beneficiaries’ ability to access certain drugs under Medicare Part D. Medicare Part D, which covers prescriptions drugs beneficiaries pick up at pharmacies, is administered by private Part D plans. Much like commercial health insurance plans, these Part D plans use formularies to establish which drugs are covered and at what level of beneficiary-cost sharing.
On November 7, 2018—the morning after Election Day—the Trump administration proposed an “Exchange Program Integrity” rule governing coverage provided in health insurance marketplaces. Some parts of the proposal appear useful. Some changes offer potential help to consumers but require changes. Others threaten to create serious harm. On January 8, 2019, Families USA filed comments about each portion of the proposed rule.
Families USA is encouraged to see oral health coming up early in the 116th Congress with Senator Cardin introducing S. 22, the Medicare Dental Benefit Act of 2019 earlier this week. This legislation serves as an important opportunity for Congress to take a major step to improve the oral health, overall well-being, and financial security of seniors and people with disabilities in this country. Families USA is proud to join our partners at Oral Health America, Justice in Aging, and the Center for Medicare Advocacy in a letter supporting the major provisions of this bill.
Families USA commented on the Trump Administration’s proposed “public charge” rule. Under the administration’s proposal, immigrants could be considered a public charge, and therefore denied entry to the country or denied the right to adjust status and become a lawful permanent resident, if they receive Medicaid or certain other public benefits for a period of time.