International Myeloma Foundation
Advocacy Update | June 2020
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IMF Supports Diversity in Clinical Trials
On June 17, 2020, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health held a hearing entitled "Health Care Inequality: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in COVID-19 and the Health Care System." The International Myeloma Foundation sent a letter of support to the committee for their efforts to address health disparities, which also highlighted our endorsement of legislation we believe could improve diversity in clinical trials.

H.R. 913, The Clinical Treatment Act would ensure Medicaid covers the costs for routine care while participating in a clinical trial for those wishing to participate in them. While this is already done in some states, many states do not require this.

We already know that lack diversity in myeloma trials are problematic. There are reports that Black Americans comprise 20% of the population of myeloma patients, however, they only account for 6% of patients in clinical trials. We believe this legislation would be a positive step forward to fix this problem for cancer patients as well as patients with COVID, particularly for Black American patients. More diverse trials mean better and personalized care for all myeloma patients. We will continue to monitor this issue and fight for patients being impacted by health disparities. 
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IMF Led Coalition Continues Advocacy for Cancer Drug Parity
On Friday June 26, 2020, the International Myeloma Foundation led the Coalition to Improve Access to Cancer Care in writing a letter to Chairman Lamar Alexander. Senator Alexander who serves as Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in the Senate put a call out for input on how to deal with future pandemics and released a white paper with five basic recommendations. One area of focus in the white paper was public health capabilities, which we believe keeping cancer patients safely at home falls into.

Oral drugs are covered differently by insurers, and patients pay more out of pocket for them. The coalition letter focused heavily on highlighting the financial burden patients face, particularly those of patients being transitioned onto these drugs due to COVID-19. While high patient out-of-pocket costs for these drugs are problematic during normal times, COVID-19 has increased this issue exponentially. Click the link below to view the letter.

CLICK HERE
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House of Representatives Vote on Bill to Expand Obamacare
The House Democrats unveiled major healthcare legislation this month that would expand Obamacare benefits among many other things. H.R. 1425, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act was introduced by House Democratic leaders on June 22, 2020.

Those in favor of the legislation state that it would expand subsidies allowing more people to qualify for ACA plans, provide incentives to states to expand Medicaid, and potentially lower drug prices. They also argue that market stabilization and expansion of benefits would be particularly valuable right now in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill is viewed as a political move by those opposed to it citing its timing as correlating with election season. They also view many of the bill’s provisions as controversial, including the elimination of short term limited duration plans, which have been a polarizing issue in Washington. Additionally, those opposed fear the provision in the bill addressing drug pricing could affect patient access to medications and adversely impact innovation.

To view the legislation CLICK HERE.
 

Want to get involved?

Interested in learning more or taking actions about our federal and/or state priorities? Email the IMF Advocacy Team, advocacy@myeloma.org, to find out ways you can help and make your voice heard. Find us on the Twitter and Facebook! We 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.
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