West Health Statement on Initial Build Back Better Framework

October 28, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC – West Health President and Chief Executive Officer, Shelley Lyford, issued the following statement in response to the Build Back Better framework unveiled today by President Biden. West Health is a family of nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations dedicated to lowering healthcare costs to improve aging in America.

“If meaningful drug pricing reform is not enacted through the Build Back Better legislation, the pharmaceutical industry and its army of lobbyists will score another major victory at the expense of seniors, their families and taxpayers. Additionally, not including a dental benefit in Medicare and insufficient funding for home and community-based services would throw away a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve the quality of life of millions of seniors and fix problems that will only cost more to fix later.

The stakes are too high to do nothing to rein in high drug prices especially when policy changes such as empowering Medicare to negotiate would result in saving over a million senior lives and hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade. At the same time, failure to include a dental benefit in Medicare will leave tens of millions of older adults suffering with the silent epidemic of untreated oral diseases. And, without a significantly more robust investment in home and community-based services, waitlists will top over a million people as the country ages.

We call on President Biden and Democrats in Congress to go beyond this initial framework and reinstate these critical provisions Americans overwhelmingly support. The country is so close to the transformational change it desperately needs, now is not the time for any member of Congress to turn their backs on the needs of seniors. Americans are fed up with broken promises and are unwilling to accept being shortchanged any longer. Compromise is essential, but total elimination of lifesaving programs is no compromise at all and would be a major betrayal to the many seniors who put these politicians in office.”