FARE Calls for Affordable Coverage of Chronic Conditions, Continued Caps on Patient Expenses

FARE Statement

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader
United States Senate
317 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Lamar Alexander
Chairman
Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions
United States Senate
428 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Orrin Hatch
Chairman
Committee on Finance
United States Senate
219 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Minority Leader
United States Senate
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Patty Murray
Ranking Member
Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions
United States Senate
428 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Ron Wyden
Ranking Member
Committee on Finance
United States Senate
291 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senators McConnell, Schumer, Alexander, Murray, Hatch and Wyden:

Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) is the leading advocacy organization working on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies.  I write to you today to convey our significant concerns regarding the American Health Care Act (AHCA) as passed by the House of Representatives last month.  As the Senate begins its consideration of its own healthcare reform legislation, we would like to bring these issues to your attention in the hopes that the Senate is able to craft a bill that better serves those living with life-threatening food allergies. 

The food allergy community is extremely concerned that under the House-passed bill, children and others that have food allergies may be denied coverage or forced to pay very high premiums because this chronic, life-threatening disease would be considered a “pre-existing” condition. While the House-passed bill attempts to protect access through funding for state-based high-risk pools, we are concerned that the AHCA’s funding for these pools is far from adequate to help maintain affordable coverage for these individuals. As you know, many families managing food allergies are already struggling with accessing affordable epinephrine injectors, a medication that they must have with them at all times. We believe the current language of this bill could add significantly to the numbers of families at risk because they can’t afford this life-saving medication.

The AHCA also would undermine other important insurance protections by reducing protections for Essential Health Benefits and providing individual states the latitude to erode annual and lifetime limit caps on necessary medical care for food allergy patients. We strongly oppose these changes as it is unacceptable to expose food allergy patients to these types of arbitrary caps and cost-sharing requirements that result in fewer patients receiving the life-saving treatment they need when it matters most.

As you and your colleagues work to fashion legislation in the Senate, we strongly encourage you to ensure that our patient community has access to the health care necessary for chronic disease management under all insurance options, and that this care is not subjected to price discrimination through unaffordable insurance premiums. 

I would be happy to discuss any of these issues with you or your staff.  Thank you for your consideration.

James Baker Signature
James R. Baker, Jr., MD
Chief Executive Officer

Media Contact
Nancy Gregory
Senior Director of Communications
Direct: 703-563-3066
ngregory@foodallergy.org

For general inquiries, please call 800-929-4040.

About FARE

Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) is the world’s leading food allergy advocacy organization and the largest private funder of food allergy research. Our mission is to improve the quality of life and the health of individuals with food allergies, and to provide them hope through the promise of new treatments. FARE is transforming the future of food allergy through innovative initiatives that will lead to increased awareness, new and improved treatments and prevention strategies, effective policies and legislation and novel approaches to managing the disease. For more information, please visit www.foodallergy.org. To join FARE’s transformative five-year fundraising and awareness campaign, Contains: Courage, supporting families living with food allergies and educating ALL communities about the disease, visit www.foodallergy.org/containscourage