Biden administration

71 patient groups comment on how nondiscrimination in healthcare rule can improve prescription drug access

The HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute (HIV+Hep) and the Autoimmune Association, along with 69 other patient organizations, commented on how the Section 1557 nondiscrimination in healthcare proposed rule can be used to improve patient access to prescription drugs. In their comment letter, the patient groups expressed strong support for the “meaningful steps to improve upon current regulations to ensure that people are not discriminated against in healthcare. In several instances, you have proposed to restore protections that had been included in the past but later withdrawn. In other instances, you have provided further clarity on what constitutes discrimination. In any instance, we emphasize that the law and whatever is finalized in regulation must be strictly enforced.”

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CDC data shows only one-third of people diagnosed with hepatitis C access treatment

Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released disturbing data that shows that only one-third of people diagnosed with hepatitis C who have healthcare coverage are being treated with curative medications within one year of diagnosis. “Despite having health coverage and cost-effective drugs that can cure hepatitis C in as little as 8-12 weeks, our healthcare system is failing to provide the treatment people with hepatitis C need and is required to end this potentially deadly infectious disease,” commented Carl Schmid, executive director of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute.

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Senate Appropriations leadership proposes significant increases for domestic HIV programs

The leadership of the United States Senate Appropriations Committee is proposing to significantly increase funding to continue to ramp up efforts to end HIV in the United States.  The Senate bills include increased funding for the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative by at least $240 million for domestic HIV testing, prevention, treatment, and research programs. While it is not as much as proposed in President Biden’s budget, in some instances it is more than what was proposed by the House.

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Insurers warned that excessive utilization management of prescription drugs is potentially discriminatory

s part of the Biden administration’s proposed rule to implement the Affordable Care Act’s nondiscrimination provisions, excessive use of utilization management for prescription drugs, including prior authorization, step therapy, and durational or quantity limits could be deemed discriminatory. Additionally, the proposed rule adds back protections that prohibit insurers and other health programs from engaging in marketing practices and benefit design that discriminate on the basis of certain conditions, including disability. 

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House proposes funding increases for domestic HIV programs

The U.S. House of Representatives Labor, HHS Appropriations Subcommittee is proposing to increase funding to continue to ramp up efforts to end HIV in the United States. However, it fails to include a national program to increase access to PrEP, which are medications that prevent HIV.  In addition to an increase of $225 million for domestic HIV testing, prevention, and treatment programs as part of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative, the FY23 Labor, HHS appropriations bill is proposing a $75 million increase to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and $200 million more for NIH AIDS Research.

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