Cancer Drug Parity Act, H.R 1409 – Cosponsor Update
Support for the Cancer Drug Parity Act is at an all-time high in 115th Congress. H.R 1409 currently has 122 bipartisan cosponsors and the support is continuing to increase. As a reminder, H.R. 1409 addresses outdated insurance cost sharing policies and it ensures patient administered chemotherapy is covered at the same favorability as intravenous (IV) and injectable chemotherapy treatments. To accomplish this, the Cancer Drug Parity Act simply requires insurance companies to cover these self-administered drugs, many of which are used in treating myeloma, at the same level of favorability as IV drugs.
Help us continue the forward momentum with H.R. 1409! To see if your Member of Congress supports the Cancer Drug Parity Act please click here and feel free to thank them for their support if they are already cosponsors of the bill. If they are not currently cosponsoring, please email them and ask them to support H.R 1409.
Oral Parity Legislation -State Update:
North Carolina - Since October, our Coalition has been rolling out a streaming source of best-practice tactics, focused on bringing broad awareness and pointed engagement with NC decision-makers to the issue of cancer treatment fairness. The next opportunity for the Senate to hear and/or vote on HB206 is in the January Special Session starting Wednesday, January 10.
Special Session Update - It is our understanding that the General Assembly will be in session during most of January, taking up a series of constitutional amendments and other pieces of legislation. This means that the window remains open for the Senate Rules chair to choose to move HB206 if he so decides. While a number of other issues are on the docket, and we appreciate that the General Assembly has a number of issues under consideration this month, our goal is to move HB206 for a vote at the earliest opportunity. This January 2018 special session with an opportunity to finally see the Senate take up this bill for the first time ever. Patients can’t wait. Send your senator an email by clicking HERE and share your personal message.
Michigan- With Senate Bill 492 has passed the Senate floor by a vote of 36 to 1, the coalition is now setting it’s focus on the house. HB5367 was officially been introduced on December 13th 2017 with 29 Republican original co-sponsors.
We are in the process of putting together a schedule for multiple press conferences around the oral parity legislation. We encourage our advocates to attend. If you are a patient, caregivers, and/ or provider and willing to share your story pertinent to the legislation. Please reach out to IMF Advocacy, firstname.lastname@example.org , if you would be willing to speak at one of the events.
VETS Act Passed
On January 3rd, 2018 the United States Senate passed S.925, the Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support Act of 2017 (VETS Act) by unanimous consent with an amendment. The Act would allow licensed medical professionals working for the Department of Veteran Affairs to treat patients remotely in what is known as “telemedicine.” This is advantageous as it allows a doctor who specializes in a specific area to see a patient who may not otherwise be able to travel cross country, saving both time and money, as well as providing the best treatment available for veterans. The House version (H.R. 2123) of the Act passed on November 7, 2017 without the Senate amendment. The bill will travel back to the House to confirm the addition by the Senate before it can be sent to the President for his signature.
Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage “RAISE” Family Caregivers Act- H.R.3759
The RAISE Act is intended to help relatives and partners who provide medical, household and financial assistance to loved ones. This is in effort to make it easier on the caregiver to coordinate care for their loved ones, get information and resources. According to AARP, family caregivers “commonly experience emotional strain and mental health problems, especially depression, and have poorer physical health than noncaregivers.”
The RAISE ACT will require the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop, maintain and implement a national plan to “recognize and support family caregivers” that incorporates recommended steps that can be undertaken at the federal, state and local level. It also calls for the secretary to convene a family caregiving advisory council comprised of federal officials and stakeholders in the community to weigh in on what the government can do to assist an estimated 40 million family caregivers nationally.
Under the RAISE Act, HHS will create a national family caregiver strategy by bringing together federal agencies an representatives from the private and public sectors (like family caregivers, health care providers, employers and state and local officials) in public advisory council meetings designed to make recommendations. The agency will have 18 months to develop its initial strategy and then must provide annual updates.
Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine and a Next Avenue Influencer in Aging) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Representatives Greg Harper (R-Miss.) and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) spearheaded the legislation. We are happy to announce the RAISE ACT on January 9th and is now on its way to the White House for President Trump’s signature.
IMF Comments on CMS Proposed Policy
On January 16, 2017, IMF joined with other Members of the MAPRx coalition to comment on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) proposed policy and technical changes for Part D for contract year 2019.
The comment letter urges CMS to ensure beneficiaries are adequately informed about changes that would affect their plans, promotes policies that safeguard the ability patients have to assess different Medicare plans with ample timing available to them, and promotes solutions that will help Medicare patients with affordability issues. View a copy of the comments, here.
Want to get involved?
Interested in learning more or taking actions about our federal and/or state priorities? Email the IMF Advocacy Team, email@example.com, to find out ways you can help and make your voice heard. Find us on Twitter and Facebook! @IMFadvocacy will be sharing the latest news on legislation and policies we are tracking. And follow @Chemoparity for updates on our fight to get oral parity passed at the state and federal levels.