Supporting access to care in rural communities and reining in escalating drug prices are two areas that have bipartisan support and could see legislative action in a divided government, AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels said today in a conversation with Frank Sesno, former CNN anchor and Washington bureau chief.
 
“There’s a lot of potential here,” Nickels said about tackling high drug prices. The AHA has recommended a number of policy solutions to bring down drug prices, including addressing anticompetitive actions by brand-name drug manufacturers, speeding up generic drug approvals and passing the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act, which would allow generic drug manufacturers facing certain anticompetitive delay tactics to bring an action in federal court for injunctive relief.
 
On rural health care, Nickels said it’s important to make lawmakers understand the urgency of the crisis affecting rural health care and rural America, and the need to provide adequate funding and resources to address it. 
 
Both of these issues are part of AHA’s advocacy priorities, which include promoting better care for America by building upon and improving the existing system to increase access to coverage and comprehensive health benefits; protecting patients from “surprise” medical bills by enacting comprehensive federal legislation and supporting state laws that work; and ensuring hospitals have the resources to care by rejecting proposals to reduce already stretched hospital and health system resources and supporting policies that would promote access.
 
Among other priorities, Nickels also spoke about AHA’s support for the bipartisan Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2019 (S. 348/H.R. 1763), which would add 15,000 Medicare-funded residency slots over the next five years.

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