Washington, D.C. (May 5, 2009) — Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Senior Vice President Ken Johnson issued the following statement today regarding expansion of healthcare coverage:
“Our message during the healthcare reform discussions has been simple: America’s pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies are committed to helping ensure that all Americans have access to high-quality, affordable healthcare coverage.
“That’s why we are pleased to see the Senate Finance Committee address this important issue in today’s roundtable on expansion of coverage. It is essential that all stakeholders have an opportunity to contribute to this critical dialogue.
“We believe the best way to expand healthcare coverage is by building on the existing employer-based system and expanding access through a public-private approach – with a focus on private health insurance expansions and leveraging such public programs as Medicaid and the recently reauthorized State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
“In this spirit, PhRMA recently teamed with Families USA to propose a constructive middle ground. Specifically, we suggested three key elements to be included in comprehensive health reform: establish nationwide Medicaid eligibility at 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level; provide subsidies for moderate-income individuals and families to purchase private insurance in a reformed market; and establish a meaningful cap on individuals’ out-of-pocket health expenditures.
“We believe these proposed policies represent practical, actionable steps toward our goal of providing healthcare coverage to all Americans.
“However, we also firmly stand by the success of private competition as a means of providing affordable, comprehensive health coverage.
“The success of previous efforts to improve coverage – such as the creation of the Medicare prescription drug benefit, which has led to more than 90 percent of Medicare-eligible Americans now enjoying comprehensive drug coverage at a lower-than-expected cost to patients and American taxpayers – demonstrates that it is possible to improve coverage for America’s patients through a private market while maintaining the strength of the country’s healthcare system, which is the world’s best.
“While we continue to move toward meaningful healthcare reform that makes coverage available to all Americans, the uninsured and underinsured may still find help through the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, a national clearinghouse of 475 patient assistance programs, 200 of which are sponsored by pharmaceutical research companies. The PPA has helped nearly 5.8 million Americans since 2005 and works hard to provide struggling patients with access to needed medicines. To find out if help may be available, patients can call 1-888-4-PPA-NOW or visit www.pparx.org.”
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $50.3 billion in 2008 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.2 billion in 2008.
PhRMA Internet Address: www.phrma.org
For information on how innovative medicines save lives, visit: www.innovation.org
For information on the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, visit: www.pparx.org
For more information on public health emergencies, visit: www.rxresponse.org