by Joe Pugliese
It’s hard to believe that we’re already half-way through February! The dust is starting to settle in DC. There are 62 new Representatives and 9 new Senators, not to mention the people in new roles in the Biden Administration. I think it is safe to assume that these newbies do not have a great understanding of the 340B Program and its importance to communities like ours. I am also certain that every interest group in Washington is making plans to educate these new policymakers.
The term “interest group” generally has a negative connotation, except of course when it is representing your interests. The bleeding disorders has two annual advocacy events – NHF’s Washington Days will be March 1-5th and the Alliance Hill Day is scheduled for May 5th. The goal in both cases is to educate Members of Congress about our interests, which have been and will remain ensuring access to care and treatment and policies to support federally-supported HTCs.
Given the razor thin majorities in both the House and Senate, individual Members of Congress can have a great impact on policymaking. That means that we have to make sure that we have friends on both sides of the aisle. The community and policies we care about have long enjoyed bipartisan support – having a bleeding disorders isn’t a partisan issue after all. It’s also true that we shouldn’t take anything for granted nor assume that all is lost, no matter who is in the White House or controls Congress.
That’s why telling our stories are so important! Some new Members of Congress or appointees may have preconceived notions about the 340B Program, but it is our job to tell them about our experience. For example, President Biden’s nominee to serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB – a very powerful and generally unknown office) used to run a think tank in DC that published papers suggesting policies to avoid duplicate discounts that could make it more difficult for covered entities to participate in Medicaid. I want to be optimistic and say that this creates an opportunity to educate not just the new Members of Congress but also new staffers who will have a lot of power when it comes to regulations. But it also means that we should continue doing what we’re doing – telling our story to any policymakers willing to hear it and making sure that we anticipate challenges and take advantage of opportunities wherever they may lie.
Also in this Issue…
· State Laws Regulating Pharmacy Reimbursement, ERISA, and the Supreme Court – What Could Rutledge Mean for 340B Covered Entities?
· What’s new in Washington?
· Update on Disease Management Program
· Introducing our new Board Member
· Harmony in Hemophilia Update
· Membership Dues and Benefits
· 2021 Meeting Schedule
Notes from the Community
· Reminder about the Patient Notification System