Conversations and healthy debate about issues facing our industry and the health care system are critical to addressing some of today’s challenges and opportunities. The Catalyst welcomes guest contributors, including patients, stakeholders, innovators and others, to share their perspectives and point of view. Views represented here may not be those of PhRMA, though they are no less key to a healthy dialogue on issues in health care today.
Today, we are pleased to welcome a guest post from Voters for Cures advocate David Conners. David is a type 2 diabetic who believes that H.R.3 is not the right solution to help him, and patients like him, afford their medications.
I have a full life and a loving family. My six kids keep me busy every day so keeping my type 2 diabetes under control is a must – but managing my condition comes with high out-of-pocket costs. Like many parents, I worry about my own health and about making ends meet.
I’m glad that elected officials in Washington are looking for solutions to the financial burden on patients, but I am concerned they are going about it in the wrong way. Speaker Pelosi’s H.R.3 bill may aim to bring down costs, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of new medicines down the road. We need a more thoughtful approach so that patients can have the options they need.
I know from personal experience how important it is to have a range of medicines available. My journey to find the right treatment for my chronic condition took some time and required real trial and error. Eventually, I found a medication that helped me tremendously. I was able to be present for and with my family – until my insurance company cut off my access to the treatment.
The medication that worked so well for my body is no longer financially accessible to me. Instead, my insurance company has selected a new treatment for me to use. Perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve experienced numerous negative side-effects with the new medication. I am embroiled in an ongoing fight with my insurance company, asking for coverage of the medication I need.
Accessing the medicine, I need has a drastic impact on my quality of life. That’s why we must address the financial hurdles in place for patients like me. But we also need to protect the system that brought me the treatment options in the first place. Rather than the blunt approach of H.R.3, which simply pegs prices to foreign systems, a simpler, better solution would be to pass on the savings insurers receive from middlemen to patients like me.
I recently met with a congressional staffer on this very topic during a Voters for Cures event. I urged the staffer to focus on addressing the insurance barriers – including making sure that discounts get to patients directly. I am more than just a number or a claim to be filed away. Talking with policymakers and their staff was just the beginning – everyone in Washington has an obligation to help patients afford their treatment by fixing insurance barriers that make it harder for patients to improve their health. H.R.3 is not the way to do that.
Join me in calling on Congress to focus on solutions that remove insurance barriers and protect continued innovation into treatments that could change lives here.