The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM), the international advocacy organization representing the gene and cellular therapies and broader regenerative medicine sector, today sent a letter to U.S. Sens. Graham (R-SC), Cassidy, MD (R-LA), Heller (R-NV) and Johnson (R-WI), detailing concerns regarding the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628).
The letter, signed by ARM CEO Janet Lambert, addresses the organization’s primary concern that the legislation will cut critical Medicaid funding to states and jeopardize coverage to potentially life-saving and even curative cell and gene therapies, and other regenerative medicine products that have the potential to treat burdensome and costly diseases and disorders. In addition, ARM noted that the lack of Medicaid funding would reduce the pace of regenerative medicine innovation and development sector-wide, in particular for rare diseases.
Specifically, the legislation would allow states to seek waivers that would permit insurers to charge individuals with pre-existing conditions higher premium amounts. Such waivers could also allow insurers to sell plans that do not provide full essential health benefits coverage, which would endanger the access to care provided to those that need it most. ARM also believes the Act’s proposed structural changes to the Medicaid program, i.e. the shift to a per-capita-cap and block grant system, would limit resources needed by states and their health care providers to care for the patients in greatest need, often adults and children with cancer, rare genetic diseases or other medically complex, life-threatening conditions.
The letter states, “Given budget constraints imposed by per-capita-caps and block grants, state Medicaid agencies may be forced to limit or deny access to the lifesaving and life-improving rare disease therapies for the very patients that Congress intended Medicaid to help.”
ARM notes that previous legislation on this issue established a separate eligibility categories for certain high-cost beneficiaries and that ARM had suggested a carve-out category for patients with medically complex conditions. The organization has and will continue to work with stakeholders to define and propose new payment and financing models to expand patient access to high-value, potentially curative therapies.
The submitted letter is available here.
About The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine
The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) is an international multi-stakeholder advocacy organization that promotes legislative, regulatory and reimbursement initiatives necessary to facilitate access to life-giving advances in regenerative medicine worldwide. ARM also works to increase public understanding of the field and its potential to transform human healthcare, providing business development and investor outreach services to support the growth of its member companies and research organizations. Prior to the formation of ARM, there was no advocacy organization operating in Washington, D.C. to specifically represent the interests of the companies, research institutions, investors and patient groups that comprise the entire regenerative medicine community. Today, ARM has more than 270 members and is the leading global advocacy organization in this field. To learn more about ARM or to become a member, visit http://www.alliancerm.org.