Washington, D.C. – Today, Reps. Diane Black (R-TN-06) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03), both members of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced H.R. 5652, the Access to Better Care Act of 2016 – a simple, bipartisan measure that would allow eligible high deductible health plans (HDHPs) with health savings accounts (HSAs) the option of providing pre-deductible coverage for medical management of chronic conditions or diseases. Black and Blumenauer released the following statements:
“As a nurse for over 40 years, improving our nation’s healthcare system by implementing common-sense policies that help promote patient-centered care is a top priority of mine in Congress,” said Congressman Black. “We are constantly looking for innovative policy solutions to lower the cost of healthcare without compromising its quality, and this legislation does just that. By removing regulatory barriers to medically necessary drugs or services, the Access to Better Care Act will empower Tennesseans to regularly manage chronic conditions, improve quality of life, and lower costs.”
“By expanding access to critical preventative care, we can help keep individuals with chronic conditions healthy and out of the emergency room,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “Our Access to Better Care Act will also lower out-of-pocket expenses for patients and encourage better value in our healthcare system.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that treating people with chronic diseases accounts for 86% of our nation’s healthcare costs. Studies show that increasing cost-sharing, even by just a few dollars, can discourage patients from taking highly valuable medicines for these chronic diseases, such as medications for heart disease or diabetes. Value-Based Insurance Design (V-BID) is a concept that embraces the simple, yet transformative idea that prices for prescription drugs and services can be constructed to motivate patients to better manage their conditions. This legislation seeks to incorporate the V-BID concept for HSA-eligible HDHPs, so that plans may have the option to provide first-dollar coverage for high-value, effective medical care that will prevent the onset of, further deterioration from, or complications associated with a chronic condition or disease.
This legislation has been endorsed by: AHIP, American Benefits Council, American Heart Association, American Stroke Association, American Osteopathic Association, BlueCross BlueShield Association, Dr. Michael Chernew, Families USA, Merck, National Coalition on Health Care, Pfizer, Public Sector HealthCare Roundtable, The Smarter Health Care Coalition, University of Michigan Center for Value Based Insurance Design, West Health Institute.
Congressman Diane Black represents Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. She has been a nurse for more than 40 years and serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and Budget Committee.