Addressing the AHA Annual Membership Meeting this morning, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, told hospital and health system leaders “the idea ought to be to improve on the Affordable Care Act,” and not sabotage it, as the law led to 20 million more Americans getting health insurance. The “constant threat and sabotage efforts [of the ACA] is unwarranted and indeed, it’s unwise. We should be working together to repair the ACA, and we should be working together to make sure that we all buy into the idea of universal access to health care.”
 
In addition, Neal spoke about the importance of reining in high drug prices and demanding transparency from drug manufacturers. The Ways and Means committee today is marking up the AHA-supported Prescription Drug Sunshine, Transparency, Accountability and Reporting Act (H.R. 2113), which Neal hopes leads to bipartisan efforts to address the issue.
 
“Drug manufacturers should justify high prices when they launch their products,” Neal said. “We aren’t price setting here; we’re asking for transparency on how they come to their conclusions.” Neal also plans to demand transparency of pharmacy benefit managers to study the increasing costs of drugs, the increasing number of drug shortages and “how it plays out in a hospital setting.”

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