Thank you for meeting with advocates from the National Psoriasis Foundation. We appreciate your time! As discussed, we hope your office will:
- Provide $6 million for the CDC Chronic Disease Education and Awareness Program, as well as report language on psoriatic disease, in fiscal year 2024.
• House offices can join a sign-on letter led by Representatives John Joyce (R-PA-13), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-25).
- Cosponsor S. 652, the Safe Step Act
- Cosponsor H.R. 830, the HELP Copays Act, and introduce the bill in the Senate
For more information on NPFs 2023 legislative asks please review our congressional leave-behind. In addition, please find brief summaries of each ask below.
1. FY 24 Psoriatic Disease Appropriations
Psoriatic disease poses a significant public health burden. These chronic conditions include psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, and affect over 8 million Americans. People living with psoriatic disease are more likely to develop co-occurring conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, depression, and anxiety. Unfortunately, despite treatment advances, many people living with psoriatic disease experience delays in diagnosis and have not reached remission.
In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a psoriatic disease public health agenda. In 2020, Congress created the CDC Chronic Disease Education and Awareness (CDEA) Program which enabled CDC to support work on psoriatic disease.
While the CDEA has made progress on psoriatic disease, more needs to be done. To make a lasting impact and improve remission rates, the NPF encourages members of Congress to include in their fiscal year 2024 appropriations requests:
- $6 million for the CDC Chronic Disease Education and Awareness Program (CDEA)
- Report language supporting psoriatic disease public health activities
House offices may also join the Joyce (R-OH-13)/Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-25) appropriations letter.
2. Cosponsor the Safe Step Act
Insurance-mandated step therapy is when a health plan requires patients to try and fail one or more insurer-preferred treatments before the plan will cover the treatment originally selected by the patient and their provider. Also known as “fail first,” these protocols can delay needed treatment and lead to severe or irreversible health outcomes.
The Safe Step Act is based on legislation that has passed in 36 states and would:
- Ensure employer plans offer a step therapy exceptions process to patients and providers
- Establish circumstances when a step therapy exception should be granted
- Require plans to respond to an exceptions request within 24-72 hours
The NPF encourages all members of Congress to cosponsor the Safe Step Act.
3. Cosponsor HR 830, the HELP Copays Act and introduce it in the Senate
Copay accumulator adjustment programs are utilization management protocols in which insurers accept third-party copay assistance for a plan member’s prescription without counting that assistance towards the plan member’s cost-sharing obligations (i.e., deductible and out-of-pocket maximum).
A 2020 NPF survey found that 65.4% of people with psoriatic disease could not afford their treatment without copay assistance. This is because deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums are high and difficult for many to afford year after year.
HR 580, the HELP Copays Act is based on legislation that has passed in 16 states and would:
- Ensure that copay assistance is counted towards a patient’s cost-sharing obligations, like their deductible and out-of-pocket maximum
- Close the “essential health benefit loophole” which would prevent similar schemes in the future
The NPF encourages House Representatives to cosponsor HR 830, the HELP Copays Act, and Senators to introduce the bill in the Senate.