Friday, July 20 , 2018, 1:48 pm | Fair 75º


Capps Reintroduces Bipartisan Bill to Give Patients Access to Critical Treatments

This week, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, and Republican Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia reintroduced a bipartisan bill to give patients with chronic, disabling and life-threatening conditions such as multiple schlorisis, lupis, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer affordable access to the newest drug therapies.

The Patients’ Access to Treatment Act would limit the co-payment, co-insurance or other cost-sharing requirements insurance companies impose on patients who require “specialty” medications to treat life threatening or chronic diseases. Capps and McKinley have introduced similar legislation in previous sessions of Congress. Last Congress, the bill received broad bipartisan support with 142 co-sponsors.

Capps and McKinley announced the reintroduction of the bill at a press conference on Capitol Hill.

“The Patients’ Access to Treatment Act will enable patient access to affordable treatments while containing health-care costs,” Capps said. “By requiring coverage of these critical drugs in insurance drug plans, patients will be able to pay for these live-saving medications. I am hopeful that this is the year we can work together to push this commonsense legislation across the finish line.”

“Millions of Americans suffer from chronic and disabling diseases and are unable to afford critical treatments to relieve their pain and prolong their lives,” McKinley said. “Congress needs to show the will to carry out these reforms.”

When insurance companies move drugs into a “specialty tier,” which often requires patients to pay a percentage of the actual cost of the drugs, access to those drugs can become prohibitively expensive. Many of these drugs, especially biologic drugs, have no less expensive generic equivalent, which means patients are forced to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars each month or go without treatment. This bill would ensure that drugs and therapies cannot be significantly more expensive than other drugs covered by insurance plans.

The bill is supported by a strong cross-section of advocacy groups, including the American Academy of Neurology, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Rheumatology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Arthritis Foundation.

— Chris Meagher is a press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps.


Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >