Joint letter applauding introduction of Chronic Disease Management Act of 2018

NCHC Writer
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This letter was originally organized and sent by the Smarter Health Care Coalition. To see the citations and full list of co-signers, please see the PDF version here. To see the press release from the Smarter Health Care Coalition, please click here.

Dear Senators Thune and Carper and Representatives Black and Blumenauer:

On behalf of the Smarter Health Care Coalition (Coalition) and the undersigned organizations, we are writing to applaud the Chronic Disease Management Act of 2018. This critical legislation will help patients with chronic conditions access high-value health care services and medications that ensure optimal health and well-being.

The Coalition represents a broad-based and diverse group of health care innovators, including health plans, consumer groups, provider-related organizations, employer groups, trade associations, academia centers and professors, foundations, and life science companies. Our goal is to leverage our combined perspectives and experiences to achieve smarter health care that improves the patient experience through better benefit design and the alignment of coverage, quality, and value-based payment goals.

As you know, approximately half of all Americans have at least one chronic condition and about a quarter suffer from two or more. Each year, millions of Americans struggle to receive the appropriate care due to onerous cost burdens. Studies show that chronic conditions account for $.86 of every dollar spent on health care and, without appropriate management, lead to adverse effects on health outcomes and quality of life.

This problem can be exacerbated for employees and individuals enrolled in high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), a rapidly growing segment of the insurance marketplace. Studies show that the percentage of employers offering HDHPs grew by 20 percent between 2005 and 2017, and that the percentage of employees covered by HDHPs over the same period grew by 24 percent.1 Plans coupling HDHPs with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are currently prohibited from offering services and medications to manage chronic conditions on a pre-deductible basis, creating cost barriers to care for chronically ill patients.

The Chronic Disease Management Act of 2018 addresses this problem by allowing HSA-HDHPs to provide plan members access to health care services and medications that manage chronic conditions on a pre-deductible basis, consistent with the principles of value-based insurance design. Doing so will yield an enormous benefit to patients, employers, and payers alike, including improved health, enhanced workplace productivity, and the avoidance of unnecessary emergency care visits and hospitalizations to the benefit of patients and will ensure a more rational and sustainable health care system.

Once again, thank you for your leadership in authoring this important legislation and we look forward to working with you toward its passage. Please contact Coalition Co-Directors, Andrew MacPherson at [email protected], Ray Quintero at [email protected], and Katy Spangler at [email protected] with any questions.