State Updates

Washington Out-of-Pocket Costs Taskforce Selected

The July 1st deadline is approaching to convene the first Out-of-Pocket Costs Taskforce meeting that was created by Senate Bill 6569 this past spring.

Joanna Lindsay from the Arthritis Foundation, and Stephanie Simpson of the Bleeding Disorders Foundation of Washington were selected to serve on the Task Force.

SB 6569 was an initiative that passed into law by a veto override vote during a special session to study the high out-of-pocket costs for patients. WRA legislative staff will continue to monitor the task force and will update WRA membership as necessary.

Patient Out-of-Pocket Costs Taskforce

Advocacy Tips: Preparing to Engage an Elected Official

As the WRA provides opportunities for advocacy, it is important that the individual advocate prepare for future engagement with policymakers. To help, the WRA government relations team has provided some helpful advocacy tips to consider:

  • DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Know exactly what you want to say and carefully review your messages.
  • If possible, compile information about the impact of specific healthcare issues on the elected officials district or state.
  • DO NOT compile a long list of statistics: your elected officials will not remember them and they will lose their impact.
  • Prepare a few dramatic numbers or anecdotes to illustrate your points.
  • To encourage policymakers to support a specific issue effecting rheumatology, present materials that clearly articulate your position.
  • Know the counter-arguments and be ready to respectfully answer any questions or disagreements.

State Roundup: Priority Legislation that Passed Around the U.S.

Washington had several pieces of priority legislation this legislative cycle that align among Rheumatology advocates around the country.  Step Therapy, Biosimilars and Prior Authorization have been at the forefront in patient access issues around the country.

  • 2016 State Priority Successes:
    • Step Therapy: Indiana, West Virginia, Illinois, Kansas, New York, Missouri.
    • Biosimilars: Kentucky, Missouri, Rhode Island, Arizona, Hawaii, Connecticut, Idaho, Oregon.
    • Prior Authorization: Ohio, New Hampshire.

Federal Updates

Part B Stakeholders Testify before Congress

Coalition of State Rheumatology Organizations (CSRO) National Advocacy Chair, Dr. Michael Schweitz, testified before the Subcommittee on Health in opposition to the recent Medicare Part B Demo proposed by CMS.

The hearing, “The Obama Administration’s Medicare Drug Experiment: The Patient and Doctor Perspective,” brought together stakeholders that would be adversely affected by the change in reimbursement for Part B drugs.

Watch the video

Bipartisan Step Therapy Letter Delivered to CMS

Congressmen Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Scott Peters (D-CA) have sparked debate on step therapy by sending a letter to CMS. Both expressed their concerns about the barrier the adverse rule has had on patients and physicians.

The letter asks the CMS, who oversees the Medicare program, to ensure step therapy protocols are open and transparent, do not create a barrier to access and do not take prescribing power out of the hands of physicians.

Read the letter

Other Federal News Stories of Interest

Price, Shimkus, Boustany Respond to CMS’s Dismissal of Concerns Regarding the Proposed Medicare Part B Drug Payment Model

AMA Blasts Medicare Part B Drug Price Plan

Medicare’s Slavitt: MACRA Will Help Doctors, But Input Is Needed

WRA Advocacy News – June 2016

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