Recently, The Association of Independent Doctors (AID) teamed up with the Practicing Physicians of America, a grassroots coalition of physician organizations, to compose a pro-doctor white paper that has been circulating on Capitol Hill.
The paper’s three co-authors — Dr. Marion Mass, a pediatrician from Pennsylvania, Dr. Vicki Wooll, a family practice physician from Idaho, and Marni Jameson Carey, executive director of the Association of Independent Doctors — presented the paper on Capitol Hill last March at the National Physicians’ Council for Healthcare Policy meeting, and it has already had an impact. The NPCHP meets twice a year and brings together more than 100 policy-minded physicians, medical economists and lawmakers who want to fix the nation’s broken health-care system.
The paper outlines four major issues impacting doctors, including the harmful effects that the Safe Harbor Act of 1987 has had on our health-care system. The law, which the authors would like repealed, essentially makes it legal for group purchasing organizations and pharmacy benefit managers to receive kickbacks from drug companies and medical suppliers. These pay-to-play arrangements not only lead to billions of unnecessary dollars being spent on health-care, but also to critical drug shortages.
Since the paper began making its rounds, AID friend and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb publicly highlighted the role of anti-kickback “safe harbor” in driving up drug prices and called for a re-examination of the statute in his keynote speech at the 2018 Food and Drug Law Institute Conference in Washington, DC. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump singled out PBMs saying “we’re very much eliminating the middlemen” in his recent speech introducing a 44-page report titled “American Patients First” that details how the administration plans to approach drug pricing.
The white paper highlights other abuses occurring in the pharmaceutical industry as well as the negative impact that third-party payor intrusion and electronic health records are having on the practice of medicine.
In addition, the paper discusses the negative impact of health-care consolidation and the need for transparency in health-care pricing and site neutrality. The joint effort closes with legislative asks, which were followed up as topics during a series of health policy meetings on Capitol Hill, where the authors presented and attended meetings.
“PPA has an extensive social media reach and an active presence in Washington. That coupled with AID’s nationwide network and reputation for championing independent doctors makes for a formidable combination,” said Dr. Mass.
To read the full white paper, visit AID-us.org/White-Paper
By April Spencer
April Spencer works for The Association of Independent Doctors, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping reduce healthcare costs by helping consumers, businesses and lawmakers understand the value of keeping America’s doctors independent AID-us.org.