ACR Members Push for Legislation on Rising Costs and Barriers to Care

Samantha DiGrande

This week, rheumatologists and rheumatology stakeholders from the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) took to Capitol Hill to advocate on pressing issues in rheumatology care, such as the rising costs of treatment and lack of access to care.

This week, rheumatologists and rheumatology stakeholders from the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) took to Capitol Hill to advocate on pressing issues in rheumatology care, such as the rising costs of treatment and lack of access to care.

ACR members urged lawmakers to support legislation that would limit the use of step therapy, grow the rheumatology workforce, create more transparency in drug pricing, and hold pharmacy benefit managers accountable for their part in practices that have increased out-of-pocket costs for patients.

Additionally, ACR encouraged leaders to support the following legislation that would address the increasing costs and barriers in access, among others:

  • The Prescription Transparency Act of 2018, which would allow pharmacists to inform patients about additional options to lower out-of-pocket drug costs.
  • The Standardizing Electronic Prior Authorization for Safe Prescribing Act of 2018, which would require CMS to develop electronic prior authorization standards for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans.
  • The Restoring the Patient’s Voice Act, which would create a process for patients with employer-sponsored insurance to seek alternative options to step-therapy.
  • The Know the Lowest Price Act of 2018 and the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, which would allow pharmacists to notify patients when the cash price of their medication is cheaper than the price they would pay through their insurance.

Finally, ACR urged members of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Defense to create a line item in the Congressionally Designated Medical Research Program (CDMRP) for arthritis at the Department of Defense using an existing $20 million in funds. The creation of this program would address the needs of active duty military personnel and veterans who have osteoarthritis and other rheumatic diseases.

“We are at a critical juncture in rheumatology care…the rheumatology workforce is not growing fast enough to keep up with demand and too many of our patients struggle to access and afford the breakthrough therapies they need to manage their pain and avoid long-term disability,” said David Daikh, MD, PhD, president of ACR, in a prepared statement.

The American College of Rheumatology’s Advocacy Leadership Conference was held on May 16 to May 17, 2018 in Washington, D.C.