ACR Urges lawmakers to address rising costs & access barriers in Arthritis care

May 18, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals convened on Capitol Hill this week to urge legislative action on pressing policy issues affecting rheumatology care during the American College of Rheumatology's Advocacy Leadership Conference, held May 16-17, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

Noting the rising costs and increasing access barriers in rheumatologic care, specialists encouraged lawmakers to support legislation that would create reasonable exceptions to the use of step therapy, grow the rheumatology workforce, increase transparency in drug pricing, and hold pharmacy benefit managers accountable for pricing practices that increase out-of-pocket costs for patients.

"We are at a critical juncture in rheumatology care," said David Daikh, MD, PhD, President of the ACR. "According to the latest federal estimates, as many as 54 million Americans have a doctor-diagnosed rheumatic disease, and a recent academic study suggests that number could be as high as 91 million when taking into account symptoms reported by undiagnosed individuals. The rheumatology workforce is not growing fast enough to keep up with demand and too many of our patients struggle to access and afford the breakthrough therapies they need to manage their pain and avoid long-term disability. America's rheumatologists are urging our lawmakers to act now and support bipartisan, common-sense legislation that would increase access to high-quality rheumatology care for their constituents."

The American College of Rheumatology urged Congressional leaders to support the following legislation to address access and cost barriers in rheumatologic care:

Rheumatology leaders also advised members of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Defense to establish a line item in the Congressionally Designated Medical Research Program (CDMRP) for arthritis at the Department of Defense using $20 million in existing funds. Such a program would meet the growing needs of active duty military personnel and veterans, a disproportionate number of whom live with osteoarthritis and other rheumatic diseases.
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About the American College of Rheumatology

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is the nation's leading advocacy organization for the rheumatology care community, representing more than 6,400 U.S. rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals. As an ethically driven, professional membership organization committed to improving healthcare for Americans living with rheumatic diseases, the ACR advocates for high-quality, high-value policies and reforms that will ensure safe, effective, affordable and accessible rheumatology care.

American College of Rheumatology

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