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Congress Applauded for Helping Chronically Ill by Multi-Stakeholder Coalition

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Tom Reed, introduced H.R.3709 — To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permit high deductible health plans to provide chronic disease prevention services to plan enrollees prior to satisfying their plan deductible – a bipartisan, bicameral legislation creating a preventive care safe harbor for management of chronic conditions.

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The Smarter Health Care Coalition, representing patient groups, life science companies, employers, providers, health plans, and public-sector purchasers strongly support this important legislation to ensure that individuals with chronic illnesses have access to needed care, which is the bicameral companion to the recently introduced Chronic Disease Management Act (S. 1948).

We applaud the efforts of Representatives Blumenauer and Reed and Senators Thune and Carper authoring this critical legislation to help Americans get more health out of every health care dollar we spend, and we urge Congress to swiftly pass it.

Approximately 60 percent of all Americans have at least one chronic condition and about 42 percent suffer from two or more. Each year millions of Americans struggle to receive the appropriate care due to high out-of-pocket costs. Studies show that chronic conditions account for $.90 of every dollar spent on health care and, without appropriate management, lead to adverse effects on health outcomes and quality of life.

Plans coupling high-deductible health plans (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.

H.R. 3709 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. 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. This common-sense reform will benefit patients and will ensure a more rational and sustainable health care system.

The Coalition strongly encourages swift passage of this critical legislation that will help patients with chronic illnesses access high-value health care services and medications that ensure optimal health and well-being.

Ray Quintero
Co-Director, Smarter Health Care Coalition

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SOURCE Smarter Health Care Coalition