Biden-Harris Administration Should Uphold New CMS Rule that Benefits Vulnerable Patients

Biden-Harris Administration Should Uphold New CMS Rule that Benefits Vulnerable Patients

The historic election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris means a change at the White House as well as a dramatically different approach to health policy in the Humphrey Building. The Health Equity Collaborative (HEC) applauds the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to combatting COVID-19 through the implementation of a national pandemic strategy based on science, communication, and equitable access.

As described in our recent coalition video, COVID-19 has laid bare many longstanding health inequities faced by communities of color including lack of access to affordable medicines. Rising healthcare costs remain one of the top financial pressures facing vulnerable Americans. Minority and low-income Americans suffer from a significant lack of access to quality health care. They are also more likely to not have health insurance and are often hit with surprise medical bills.

There is no question new strategies and policies are necessary to curb barriers to healthcare access in underserved communities. However, amid the turmoil of the Trump Administration’s policy changes over the last four years there is one recent bright spot of progress that has the capability to dramatically reduce out-of-pocket costs for patients. On November 20th, The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a long sought-after final rule to eliminate the current system of drug rebates in Medicare Part D. The final rule cracks down on unfair rebate prices while ensuring there is a safe harbor to protect discounts reflected at the point of sale for patients at the pharmacy counter. Real reform is paramount to stop pharmacy benefit managers and insurance companies from siphoning away billions of dollars in drug rebates meant for patients.

The American people have spoken, and they have chosen a leader who ran on the promise of fostering profound and lasting reforms that prioritize patients over partisan politics. Simple yet bold steps like these will go a long way towards improving Americans’ health and we urge the Biden-Harris Administration to uphold this final rule to help our nation’s most vulnerable.