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Congressman Mike Thompson

Representing the 5th District of CALIFORNIA

Reps. Thompson & McKinley Stand Up for Rural Patients, Hospitals

Nov 15, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Reps. Mike Thompson (CA-05) and David B. McKinley, P.E. (WV-01) introduced H.R. 4392 to reverse a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rule cutting $1.6B for drugs purchased by certain hospitals covered under the 340B program. These cuts jeopardize care for millions by directly reducing revenue to hospitals that care for vulnerable patients in underserved and rural communities, without addressing the underlying price of the drugs.

“This rule dramatically undermines the ability of hospitals across the country to deliver care to our nation’s most vulnerable populations. I’m disappointed that CMS did not listen to hospitals, nor a majority of members in the House and Senate, and approved a rule that puts both hospitals and patients at risk,” said Rep. Thompson. “I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to stop this rule and ensure the 340B program can continue to serve low-income populations as Congress intended.”

“Protecting access to prescription drugs for low income communities should be a priority. Unfortunately, CMS’s misguided rule jeopardizes the ability of rural hospitals to provide vital services. This would have a huge impact on West Virginia hospitals’ ability to provide affordable care. We led a bipartisan letter to CMS with nearly 250 signers, but they didn’t listen. This bill ensures that rural hospitals are able to continue providing affordable services, and gives rural families peace of mind,” said Rep. McKinley.

“The AHA thanks Representatives McKinley and Thompson for leading this bipartisan effort to protect patient care by preventing CMS from reducing Medicare Part B payments for some 340B hospitals,” said Tom Nickels, Executive Vice President of the American Hospital Association. “For 25 years, the 340B Drug Pricing program has been critical in helping hospitals expand access to lifesaving prescription drugs and comprehensive health care to low-income patients and other vulnerable populations in communities across the country.”

“The AAMC would like to thank Representatives McKinley and Thompson for introducing this important bipartisan bill to prevent major Medicare cuts to safety net hospitals that participate in the 340B Drug Pricing Program,” said Atul Grover, MD, PhD, Executive Vice President of the Association of American Medical Colleges. “This program provides savings to many teaching hospitals, allowing them to maintain vital services for patients at no cost to taxpayers.”

“We thank Congressmen McKinley and Thompson for their leadership and support for low-income Americans and their essential hospitals,” said Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, President and CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals. “They understand the damage this policy will cause to communities in West Virginia, California, and across the country, and we appreciate their efforts to protect patients. We urge all House members to support access to affordable drugs by supporting this critical legislation.”

Background

On November 1, 2017, CMS cut the reimbursement rate for Medicare Part B drugs purchased by certain hospitals covered under the 340B program by around $1.6B. This legislation would completely negate the effects of this rule.

Since 1992, the 340B program has used mandated discounts offered by drug manufacturers to help hospitals and other covered entities provide discounted drugs and lifesaving services to their patients. The CMS rule eliminates funding that hospitals use to support the unreimbursed cost of care for those who need it the most.

On September 28, 2017, McKinley and Thompson organized a bipartisan letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma urging the administration to withdraw its harmful proposal to cut the 340B Drug Pricing Program. This letter was signed by 228 Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle who understand that protecting access to affordable care is a top priority.

To view the text of the bill, click here.

To view the bipartisan letter to CMS, click here.

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