Statement From Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, Executive Director, Health Care For All Regarding An Act to Keep People Healthy by Removing Barriers to Cost-Effective Care (H. 984/S. 606)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

 

BOSTON - "97% of the Massachusetts population has access to health insurance. However, many consumers still face financial barriers to care when it comes to accessing necessary treatments and medications.

 "Increasing co-pays and deductibles have become an obstacle to good health care. As out-of-pocket costs rise, patients become less likely to access care or follow prescribed treatments and medications, especially patients with low incomes or chronic conditions who need multiple medications and services. Patients can also delay or forgo obtaining necessary health care, which in turn leads to more intensive and expensive care.
 

"An Act to Keep People Healthy by Removing Barriers to Cost-Effective Care (H. 984/S. 606) aims to increase health care access and treatment adherence by eliminating co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance for cost-effective prescription medications and treatments for chronic conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, asthma, depression, and HIV/AIDS.

 

"The Affordable Care Act eliminated cost-sharing for many preventive tests and screenings in order to increase the likelihood that these services will be used. Building on this model, the "No-Copay bill" would remove barriers to high-value care and incentivize patient adherence, improving health outcomes.

 

"This legislative effort would benefit consumers like Mercy Núñez, a New Bedford resident who has a heart condition and has to take 14 different medications. A few months ago she couldn't pay for her treatment and ended up in the emergency room and hospitalized for two nights in order to recover her health. She is doing better, but still worries about not being able to afford her required copay for her life-saving medications.

 

"Health Care For All thinks that these episodes of expensive emergency care are avoidable if we remove those financial barriers to high-value care, saving money for the health care system as a whole. That is why we are urging the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing to report favorably on An Act to Keep People Healthy by Removing Barriers to Cost-Effective Care (H. 984/S. 606.)"