Congress is again debating health care payment reforms that impact the availability of innovative treatments, with the newest iteration of draft legislation not only failing to be responsive to calls from the disability community to unambiguously bar the use of discriminatory value metrics like the quality-adjusted life year (QALY) across federal programs, but also providing no opportunity for affected stakeholders to provide input.
Chairman's Corner: Recent Polling Finds Strong Support for Congress to End Use of Discriminatory Metrics Across Federal Programs
This op-ed originally appeared in Morning Consult on November 23, 2021
This op-ed originally appeared in The Hill on September 14, 2021
Chairman's Corner: Tennessee Medicaid Waiver Shows Callous Disregard for Patients and People with Disabilities
As Chairman of the Partnership to Improve Patient Care (PIPC), I want to express my sincere congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden. Patients and people with disabilities are eager and excited to work with the President-elect and his team on policies that will improve their health and quality of life.
Is the life of a person with a disability or chronic condition less valuable than the life of a person without one? There is renewed interest among lawmakers to tackle healthcare costs, specifically, the rising cost of prescription drugs. However, the Administration’s proposed International Pricing Index (IPI) model, an initiative proposed in 2018 that would arbitrarily base prices of American medications off the government set prices of medications in foreign countries, is deeply flawed. Yet, we may see some version of it reintroduced soon.
The final New York budget is complete. And now we know for sure that states feel empowered by this administration to discriminate in their Medicaid programs. I had hoped that we were past these tactics to discriminate when, in 1992, HHS denied a state Medicaid waiver using quality-adjusted-life-years (QALYs) to determine its coverage because of its implications for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and when, in 2010, Congress banned use of QALYs in Medicare. But it looks like we are fighting this kind of discrimination state-by-state now.
This post originally appeared as an op-ed in Morning Consult on March 15, 2019.
Across the nation, there’s a collective agreement that something must be done by lawmakers and regulators to address the rising cost of health care. As new policies and regulations are designed to meet affordability standards, it is important that patient-centered solutions remain at the forefront. However, that is not what we’re seeing in recent state policies across the nation
Chairman's Corner: Will ICER’s Response to Attacks on the QALY Quiet the Critics?: A Reply from the Partnership to Improve Patient Care
In response to a recent blog post entitled “Will ICER’s Response to Attacks on the QALY Quiet the Critics?” (December 18, 2018) we must unfortunately reply: Absolutely not. Regrettably, ICER’s response suggests that for patients, the only options are a) a metric that is widely acknowledged to discriminate against the elderly and people with disabilities, or b) a metric that ignores elements of value that are critically important to patients. Patients need another option, and PIPC is committed to supporting it.
The Partnership to Improve Patient Care (PIPC) has a long history advocating for the perspectives of patients and people with disabilities to be considered in the value assessment of treatment options. It is a step in the right direction for the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) to advance a new project to develop and test alternative methods for the evaluation of potentially curative treatments. As part of this work, we encourage ICER to consider innovative methodologies beyond flawed cost effectiveness methodologies that use a quality-adjusted-life-year (QALY) or similar metric. This process could be an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of other countries that have embraced the use of a cost-per-QALY metric to determine treatment value with serious implications for access to care by people with disabilities and serious chronic conditions.
This post originally appeared as an op-ed in the San Jose Mercury News on January 2, 2019.
The Trump administration proposed an “international pricing index” intended to reduce drug spending under Medicare Part B by replicating the rates negotiated in other countries. It seems like a commonsense solution: Why should America pay more than other countries?The truth, however, is more complicated: lower foreign prices emerge from one-size-fits-all health care systems that drive patients to use certain drugs while refusing others, irrespective of individual needs.
Recently, the Institute for Clinical Economic Review (ICER) announced that their future reports will incorporate more prominently “a calculation of the Equal Value of Life Years Gained (evLYG).” For over a decade, representatives of patients and people with disabilities have communicated to ICER that QALYs are fundamentally flawed and inherently discriminatory. The QALY was developed as a tool to make one-size-fits-all decisions, not facilitate patient-centered health care.