Basic Principles on Health Care Reform

BioNJ is pleased that the Health Care Reform Act was passed. Our position prior to its passing appears below.

BioNJ is in agreement with the general position advanced by BIO which contends that efforts to reform health care must address three general principles, each of which is a vital step toward meaningful health care reform and providing a solution to the nation’s health care crisis. Each principle is equally important, inextricably intertwined, and any meaningful health care reform proposal must address all three.

Specifically, BIO contends:

  1. The nation’s public policy goal should be universal access to affordable, high quality health care for all Americans;
  2. Innovation in health care, including health care solutions such as new therapies and diagnostics, has always been and will continue to be central to realizing our health and economic goals; and
  3. Market-based solutions are essential for maintaining the conditions that have led to America’s leadership position in health care innovation.

Critical Issues

Endorsed by BIO and BioNJ, the following issues within the discussions regarding health care are critical for policymakers to address as they craft new health care policies:

  • Ensure Universal Access to Appropriate Innovative Therapies. Patients should have access to the most appropriate treatments regardless of cost, and it should be up to patients and their physicians to determine the best treatment. Proposals that limit access to innovative medical technologies can delay care, which can result in poor health care outcomes and higher health care costs.
  • Implement Consumer-Oriented Solutions to Increase Patient Access. BioNJ supports solutions that encourage and enable the private market to ensure that consumers and providers have choices among affordable coverage options while enhancing and continuing the discovery of new innovative therapies.
  • Maximize Participation in and Support Consumer-Oriented Reforms to Existing Public Programs Such as Medicaid and SCHIP. Increasing educational efforts aimed at helping the uninsured understand which programs are available to them is essential as is the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). To the extent that Medicaid and SCHIP are expanded, the biotechnology industry believes that such expansions will be most effective if they are done concurrently with consumer-oriented reforms.
  • Enhance Individual and Employer Responsibility. Individuals must take greater responsibility for their own health, and it is critical for all individuals to be insured for the benefit of the entire health care system and to have access to critical life-saving and preventative care measures such as immunizations, early detection and screening. Incentives should be provided to ensure that all eligible individuals participate in health plans when offered by employers or through the individual market.  Small business owners, meanwhile, should be provided incentives for providing health care coverage to employees. Patients should have access to continuous health care coverage and supports that improve health insurance portability.
  • Strengthen Our Nation’s Health through Increased Access to Preventive Health Care Measures. Regular screenings, immunizations, and other preventive health measures should be viewed as life-saving tools. It is critical to reform our public and private health system to reflect the importance and availability of preventative measures to preserve health.
  • Embrace Information Technology (IT) that Improves the Quality and Delivery of Health Care. Efforts to promote the adoption of health IT, aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of America’s health care system are essential. Coordinated data efforts will ensure that physicians have access to the right data to make informed decisions about best practices and to ensure that patients have the best treatments.
  • Recognize Universal Access will be Achieved through Coordinated Solutions. Federal and state governments should examine and learn from state and private sector initiatives that have implemented universal health coverage reforms. These proposals aim to expand and improve health coverage in an affordable manner through a combination of solutions that may be applicable in other states or at the federal level.