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WV Citizen Action, and our many coalition partners, are continuing the fight for affordable, accessible, equitable healthcare.
Make Meds Affordable
In our Make Meds Affordable campaign, our goal remains to break pharmaceutical and patent monopolies as a way to lower drug prices for all, an idea that 8 in 10 voters favor. To that end, the MMA People’s Action coalition team has been trying to connect with HHS Secretary Becerra on this issue, but with no real success as of yet. Due to the many stalled efforts on the legislative side of things, our MMA team remains focused on executive action. To help raise awareness and drive calls, MMA coalition members across the country will be hosting actions in July and August, so keep an eye out for ours here in WV. And, to help bring the reality of health care struggles home to Sec. Becerra, the Biden Administration, and others, we will be amplifying health care stories from WV and around the nation.
Calls to Senator Manchin or Capito’s offices urging them to support compulsory licensing and breaking pharmaceutical patent monopolies are needed. You can also take action here: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/make-meds-affordable/.
Health Care Stories
Health care stories are powerful, and we continue to ask you to share this link (tinyurl.com/WVStories21 – Chrome browser preferred) and encourage people you know to share theirs. What kind of health care struggles are we most interested in? All of them. But, to help us with our MMA efforts, we are looking for stories concerning the burdensome costs of prescription drugs and how they affect you.
- Are you rationing your medications, or not taking them at all due to cost?
- Are you buying less food or not paying other bills so that you can afford your medications?
We want to hear your stories. And, if you are up to sharing your story publicly, that would be amazing. The more voices we amplify, the louder our message becomes: make medications more affordable NOW!
Share your story and help educate policymakers on the real life threatening struggles of just affording the medications and care we need to survive: tinyurl.com/WVStories21.
Insulin Caps – Cut from Two Bills, But Maybe Not
When the reconciliation bill stalled yet again, insulin caps were cut to hopefully help move it forward. It’s still stalled. In the meantime, Senate Diabetes Caucus Co-Chairs Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced a bill aimed to entice drugmakers to lower their list prices to 2021 net Medicare rates by blocking pharmacy benefit managers from negotiating drug rebates or other discounts. The duo’s previous insulin bill aimed to reduce prices to 2006 list prices and cap monthly copays for those insulin products at the lesser of $35 or 25 percent of the list price per month in commercial and Medicare Part D plans, and limit administrative hurdles that can prevent doctors from prescribing a medication. In order to get this bill moving faster, the $35 monthly insulin cap provision was removed.
But, word has it that the insulin copay caps provision may yet still be included in the reconciliation package that would be voted on before August 8!
Call Senator Manchin and encourage him to keep insulin copay caps in the Reconciliation bill!
Medicare Privatization and the REACH Program
Federal efforts to privatize portions of the Medicare program are still underway. In February, in response to criticism of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Direct Contracting pilot program, they rebranded it as REACH. REACH invites third-party middlemen to “manage” the care of traditional Medicare beneficiaries. It also creates a financial incentive for these middlemen to deny medically necessary care. Experts estimate that REACH entities could spend as little as 60% of what Medicare pays them on patient care — keeping up to 40% of revenues for their own profit and overhead. REACH is a threat to the future of Medicare.
Take Action here Tell Congress they should demand answers and an end to the REACH program from the Biden administration.
Medicare Drug Price Negotiations
Senator Manchin has pushed to cut quite a bit from the reconciliation bill over the many months of its life as a continually whittled piece of wood, including prescription drug caps and meaningful climate legislation. However, two big pieces remain: Medicare drug price negotiations, and extending the Affordable Care Act. Call Senator Manchin and encourage him to keep these two important pieces in the reconciliation bill, and to help pass it right away. Then, encourage him further to pass meaningful climate legislation, because climate change is NOW and our very health and survival depend upon it.