Patient Advocates Applaud Filing of the 'Safe Step Act' in U.S. House of Representatives

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 General News
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H.R 2279 will put common sense guidelines around insurance industry practice of "step therapy"

WASHINGTON, April 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, patient and provider groups from across the country applauded the filing

of legislation by Representative Raul Ruiz (D-CA) and Representative Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) aimed at putting reasonable parameters around the insurance industry protocol known as "step therapy" or "fail first". 

H.R.2279 "The Safe Step Act" mirrors legislation that has already been enacted in more than 20 states across the country and when passed into law will bring similar patient protections to health plans that are regulated at the federal level.

Currently, health plans can force patients to try and fail on one or more medications that they dictate before the plan will cover the cost of a doctor prescribed treatment.  Delays in getting the proper treatment can lead to irreversible disease progression and worsening of a patient's medical condition.

"As medical doctors themselves, both Representative Ruiz and Wenstrup know first-hand the issues patients face when their insurance company denies or delays access to a prescribed treatment," said Patrick Stone, Vice President, government relations and advocacy, National Psoriasis Foundation.  "Our organizations are grateful that these two lawmakers have come together to offer this bi-partisan piece of legislation that puts patients and doctors back in charge of healthcare without unnecessary interference from insurance companies."

H.R.2279 does not ban the use of step therapy, but instead puts common sense parameters and reasonable timelines around the practice.  The legislation will give doctors a transparent and standardized process to appeal step therapy requirements for patients needing a particular treatment.

"Providing the right treatment at the right time to people with cancer is crucial. Step therapy can delay access to appropriate care, lead to irreversible disease progression, alter the ability of preferred treatments to achieve their desired effect, and may introduce a range of other significant patient health risks," said ASCO President Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, FACS, FASCO. "While no fail-first policies are completely safe for cancer patients, the Safe Step Act puts guardrails in place to help patients access potentially lifesaving medications in a manner."

During the 115th Congress, similar legislation, H.R. 2077 had 89 co-sponsors.

H.R. 2279 is supported by the following organizations: Alliance for Balanced Pain Management Alliance for Patient Access American Academy of Dermatology Association American Academy of Neurology American College of Rheumatology American Gastroenterological Association American Society of Clinical Oncology  American Society of Consultant Pharmacists Arthritis Foundation Chronic Disease Coalition Derma Care Access Network Digestive Disease National Coalition Epilepsy Foundation International Essential Tremor Foundation International Topical Steroid Addiction Network Lupus and Allied Diseases Association, Inc. Mental Health America Movement Disorders Policy Coalition National Alliance on Mental Illness National Eczema Association National Infusion Center Association National Patient Advocate Foundation National Psoriasis Foundation

Contact: Jen Daly Gray Media 860.398.3916

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SOURCE National Psoriasis Foundation

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