Arthritis Foundation News and Letters
The Arthritis Foundation is committed to advocating for legislation that makes treating and researching arthritis easier. Read about our advocacy efforts over the past couple years below.
June 8, 2020
On June 8, the Arthritis Foundation submitted comments to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concerning perspectives on and experiences with pain and pain management. The Foundation’s comments focused on our findings in the report, A Mandate for Action, the results from a recent osteoarthritis (OA) patient survey, and the OA guidelines we developed alongside the American College of Rheumatology last year.
June 4, 2020
On June 4, the CDC Arthritis Coalition sent letters to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders requesting a strong allocation for the Arthritis Program. It’s time for arthritis research and funding to match the disease burden.
May 29, 2020
On May 29, the Arthritis Foundation joined patient and provider organizations in a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) thanking the agency for taking actions to support patients during the coronavirus pandemic. The letter also calls for additional measures to lessen administrative burdens on patients and providers.
May 29, 2020
On May 29, the Arthritis Foundation sent a letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders urging strong funding for the pediatric subspecialty loan repayment program. In the first coronavirus relief bill last March, Congress re-authorized the program for the first time in several years. The letter calls on Congress to build on this momentum by providing initial funding for the program.
May 6, 2020
The Arthritis Foundation has heard from thousands of patients through our helpline, survey research, the Live Yes! Arthritis Network and our story bank regarding health care challenges they are facing during this pandemic. Based on this collective data, we submitted suggestions for consideration in the next coronavirus relief package, addressing three broad priorities:
- Increased focus on access to care issues, including both administrative and out-of-pocket concerns, regarding medications, treatments, and services
- Improved solutions for health coverage, including telehealth
- Continued concerns about the impact of the pandemic on the health care workforce
April 23, 2020
The Arthritis Foundation (AF), Osteoarthritis Action Alliance (OAAA), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have developed A National Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis: 2020 Update to address the high prevalence of osteoarthritis (OA), its rising health impact and growing economic consequences. The 2020 Update is guided by the vision, goals, and guiding principles set forth in 2010 but is also focused on current public health practices and engaging a wide community of stakeholders.
April 23, 2020
On April 23, the Arthritis Foundation joined a letter to Congressional leadership that encourages Congress to build on past bipartisan efforts and ensure all individuals have equitable access to testing and treatment for COVID-19; equip states and localities with sufficient financial support to combat the crisis; provide protection and support to the health care workforce and others on the frontlines of the pandemic; assure access and capacity in the health system; and protect against high and unexpected health care costs.
April 22, 2020
On April 22, the Arthritis Foundation joined 16 organizations in a letter to Congressional leadership urging a comprehensive solution on surprise medical billing. The letter encourages Congress to protect families from further financial uncertainty as they seek health care services by banning surprise out-of-network bills in the next novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response.
April 20, 2020
The Arthritis Foundation joined patient and provider advocacy groups to urge Congress to ensure that all patients have access to needed medications during this crisis. Access to medications – both those provided by the pharmaceutical manufacturers and those provided by pharmacists through compounding – are critical to caring for patients with COVID-19, and separately for those patients living with chronic conditions who utilize medications that are now in short supply due to ongoing drug shortages.
April 15, 2020
On April 15, the Arthritis Foundation joined patient advocacy organizations in a letter to Congressional leadership. The letter urges Congress to establish a targeted fund at the CDC to support disease-specific coronavirus information for chronic illness communities, and bridge funding for the NIH to support the broad medical research community during the pandemic.
April 14, 2020
The letter was cosigned by 33 organizations urging Congress to enact legislation that will help support the health and wellbeing of the American public while also slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, particularly among vulnerable populations.
April 13, 2020
The Arthritis Foundation joined the Alliance for Aging Research to urge the HHS Office of Civil Rights to be more explicit about how medical resources should be fairly allocated during the pandemic in order to avoid unlawful discrimination.
April 8, 2020
Nonprofit Community Urges Congressional Leaders to Address Nonprofit Assistance in Next COVID-19 Legislation
On April 8, the charitable nonprofit community urged Congress to include four clarifications and provisions in the next stimulus bill to address the ongoing economic impact of COVID-19. The letter calls on Congress to further recognize the significant role that charitable nonprofits play as the third largest employer in our nation’s economy and as valued problem solvers.
April 6, 2020
On April 6, two congressional caucuses, the Arthritis Caucus and Lupus Caucus, sent a letter to Vice President Pence and the White House Coronavirus Task Force on hydroxychloroquine access issues for people with arthritis and lupus during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter emphasized the need to balance the needs of these patients with the priority of finding treatments for COVID-19.
April 6, 2020
On April 6, the Arthritis Foundation sent a letter to Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) in support of S. 3544, the Coronavirus Relief for Seniors and People with Disabilities Act. The legislation would help to address the health, well-being, and economic needs of people with disabilities, older adults, and their caregivers during the pandemic.
April 6, 2020
On April 6, the Arthritis Foundation sent a letter to Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) in support of their bipartisan legislation, the Save Organizations that Serve America Act (H.R. 6408), which extends the charitable deduction to all taxpayers regardless of whether a taxpayer itemizes deductions in order to increase charitable giving. The bill would also provide $60 billion of emergency funding for nonprofits.
April 6, 2020
On April 6, the Arthritis Foundation sent a letter to Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA) and Mike Kelly (R-PA) in support of their bipartisan Legacy Individual Retirement Account (IRA) Act (S. 1257 / H.R. 3832), which expands upon the existing IRA charitable rollover.
April 3, 2020
On April 3, patient, consumer, and provider organizations sent a letter to the White House Coronavirus Task Force to urge the federal government to significantly improve the manufacturing and distribution of ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks to ensure the safety of the health care workforce and patients.
April 1, 2020
28 patient and consumer groups representing millions of people nationwide with pre-existing health conditions issued a statement regarding the administration’s decision not to initiate a special enrollment period so that individuals without health insurance can obtain coverage on healthcare.gov. The statement encourages the administration to reconsider this decision moving forward.
March 31, 2020
With the drugs hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and chloroquine under investigation as potential treatments for COVID-19, advocates are concerned about the continued availability of these drugs for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The Arthritis Foundation joined 53 organizations in a letter to US governors, lieutenant governors, insurance commissioners and pharmacy boards this week urging action to ensure patient access to HCQ for FDA-approved indications.
March 30, 2020
The Arthritis Foundation and patient community sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services with additional recommendations for protecting people with pre-existing conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recommendations included providing a special enrollment period for the healthcare.gov insurance marketplace, enhancing financial protections and coverage for COVID-19 testing, ensuring the supply of essential medications, and reducing barriers to Medicaid coverage and enrollment.
March 26, 2020
The Arthritis Foundation, in partnership with the Lupus Foundation of America, sent a letter to each State Board of Pharmacy in regards to Hydroxychloroquine availability. The letter urges Boards to take action in order to preserve the ability of people with RA and lupus to access the medications they need to fight their disease.
March 23, 2020
Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine are under investigation as potential treatments for Coronavirus (COVID-19). Hydroxychloroquine is a medication that has proven successful for treating rheumatoid arthritis and lupus for decades. This statement urges the federal government to work with the broader health care community to help ensure continued availability of these drugs for the patients who are maintained on them.
March 20, 2020
The Arthritis Foundation joined 213 patient organizations in the letter, which urges the House to also include nonprofit patient advocacy community-based organizations within any federal aid packages or supplemental appropriations measures.
March 20, 2020
The Arthritis Foundation joined 95 patient organizations in a letter to Speaker Pelosi and House Leaders to strongly encourage the inclusion of provisions regarding access to medications and supplies for people of all ages in the next legislative package.
March 16, 2020
The Arthritis Foundation and 27 organizations, representing millions of patients and consumers across the country who face serious, acute, and chronic health conditions, urge the Senate to act decisively to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, particularly among vulnerable populations. People with pre-existing conditions are at increased risk of infection and adverse health outcomes from COVID-19.
Arthritis Foundation Leads the Way in Building Support for Federal Investments in Arthritis Research and Programs
Throughout the month of March, the Arthritis Foundation sent sign-on letters to the Appropriations Committees on the CDC Arthritis Program, arthritis research at the Department of Defense, and the National Institute of Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, with more than a dozen organizations joining the way.
February 19, 2019
Arthritis Foundation Comments on Annual Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters
On February 19, the Arthritis Foundation submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the proposed Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2019. The proposed regulation affects the individual health insurance market and the health care exchanges. Our comments focused on proposed increases in premiums and out-of-pocket costs as well as impacts on access to needed medications for people with arthritis. Read the letter here.
February 7, 2019
Arthritis Foundation Submits Comments on Medicaid Waiver from Tennessee
The Arthritis Foundation submitted comments to the federal Department of Health and Human Services on the state of Tennessee’s 1115 Medicaid waiver. The waiver seeks to add a work and community engagement component to the state’s Medicaid program. The proposal would require enrollees to report at least 80 hours of work per month, or that they meet certain exemptions under the proposal. A major consequence is that administrative burdens would increase for enrollees, and implementing this proposal would be expensive for the state. Read the letter here.
February 1, 2019
Arthritis Foundation Joins Over 70 Organizations Urging Reauthorization of the Pediatric Subspecialty Loan Repayment Program
On February 1, several dozen organizations dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of children and adolescents wrote leaders in Congress to reauthorize a federal loan repayment program that supports pediatric subspecialists. The program provides loan repayment for physicians who specialize in pediatrics – such as pediatric rheumatology – if they commit to working in an underserved area of the country for a period of time. Read the letter here.
January 29, 2019
Arthritis Foundation and American College of Rheumatology to Hold Briefing on Arthritis in the Military
On February 13, the Arthritis Foundation and American College of Rheumatology will hold a briefing on Capitol Hill to highlight the epidemic of arthritis among U.S. military service members and veterans. Read more here.
January 24, 2019
Arthritis Foundation Comments on Medicare Advantage and Part D Proposed Rule
On January 24, the Arthritis Foundation submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on a proposed regulation affecting Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D, the prescription drug program. The Foundation’s comments highlighted concerns with last fall’s guidance that permits step therapy in Medicare Advantage plans. We also applauded the administration’s action to address pharmacy gag clauses, which prevent pharmacists from telling patients when it might be cheaper to pay for medication with cash rather than through insurance. Read the comments here.
January 18, 2019
Arthritis Foundation Comments on Medicaid Waiver from Oklahoma
The Arthritis Foundation submitted comments to the federal Department of Health and Human Services on the state of Oklahoma’s 1115 Medicaid waiver. The waiver seeks to add a work requirement to the state’s Medicaid program. A major consequence of the proposal is that it will increase the administrative burden on all patients, including those with chronic diseases like arthritis who depend on Medicaid for health care. Read the letter here.
January 4, 2019
Arthritis Foundation Comments on Medicaid Waiver from Virginia
The Arthritis Foundation submitted comments to the federal Department of Health and Human Services on the state of Virginia’s 1115 Medicaid wavier. The waiver seeks to add a work and community engagement component to the state’s Medicaid program. Arthritis is the leading cause of work-related disability in the United States and these types of proposals can create barriers to accessing or maintaining health care coverage. Read the letter here.
January 2, 2019
Arthritis Foundation Comments on Medicare IPI Model
The Arthritis Foundation submitted comments to the federal Department of Health and Human Services on a proposal that would change how physician-administered drugs are paid for under the Medicare program. As described in the proposal, we believe the international pricing index (IPI) model’s projected benefits are outweighed by potential negative impacts on patient access. Read the letter here.
April 8, 2019
Patient and Provider Organizations Urge Step Therapy Safeguards for Beneficiaries Enrolled in Medicare Advantage
On April 8, the Arthritis Foundation joined over two dozen patient and provider organizations to urge the federal Department of Health and Human Services to implemented patient guardrails for 2019 enrollees in Medicare Advantage, the private insurance alternative to traditional Medicare. Last fall, the administration released guidance to Medicare Advantage plans that granted them permission to use step therapy. Read the letter here.
April 8, 2019
Arthritis Foundation Joins 32 Organizations in Support of Legislation to Rollback Short-Term Health Plans
On April 8, nearly three dozen organizations submitted a statement for the record to the House Committee on Education and Labor in support of legislation that would invalidate a federal regulation that recently expanded short-term health plans. Short-term health plans are not required to comply with protections for people with pre-existing conditions like arthritis. Read the statement here.
April 5, 2019
Arthritis Foundation Comments on Proposal to Eliminate Rebates from Medicare Part D and Medicaid
On April 5, the Arthritis Foundation submitted comments on a federal proposal that would replace the existing drug rebate system with discounts to consumers at the pharmacy counter. Today, rebates that pharmaceutical companies offer health plans are usually not passed on to patients. The Arthritis Foundation supported the broader goals of the proposal but expressed concern about how changes to the manufacturer rebate system would be implemented. Read the letter here.
April 1, 2019
Arthritis Foundation Continues to Engage with the Administration on Pain Management Issues
On April 1, the Arthritis Foundation submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services on their Draft Pain Management Best Practices Guidelines, highlighting the unique perspective of people with arthritis and the need for strong patient education and access to resources on pain management. Click here to read to comments.
Surprise Billing Issue Brief
Surprise billing occurs when a healthcare provider bills a patient for the difference (or balance) between the provider’s charge for the service and the health plan’s payment for that service. Patients often receive these types of bills when they receive care from an out-of-network provider. Read more about the issue and potential solutions here.
March 6, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Signs Letter Expressing Concern with Proposals to Expand Association Health Plans
The Arthritis Foundation, along with 117 other patient and community organizations, signed onto an I Am Essential coalition letter to the federal Department of Labor expressing strong concerns with a proposal that would expand a type of insurance plan known as an association health plan. These types of plans would not be required to comply with important patient protections under current law such as the ten essential health benefits, including prescription medications. In addition, the plans would not be required to cap a patient's out-of-pocket maximums for deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance. Read the letter here.
February 26, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Urges Increased Funding of the CDC Arthritis Program for the Remainder of Fiscal Year 2018
On February 26, the Arthritis Foundation sent two letters to leaders of the health committees in Congress that oversee funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Arthritis Program. In the letters, we urged increased investment in the CDC's Arthritis Program for the current fiscal year. The CDC's Arthritis Program is the only federal program dedicated solely to arthritis, and carries out important public health research and data collection. Thanks to the bipartisan budget agreement earlier this month, additional funding is now available for these types of programs. Read the House letter here, and the Senate letter here.
February 22, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Comments on Mississippi's Workforce Training Medicaid Waiver
On February 22, the Arthritis Foundation submitted comments to the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding Mississippi's proposal to institute work requirements for Medicaid patients. A major consequence of these requirements would likely be an increase in the paperwork burden for all Medicaid patients, making it more challenging for people to maintain health care coverage. Read the letter here.
February 22, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Comments on Wisconsin's Request to Extend Medicaid Waiver
On February 22, the Arthritis Foundation submitted comments to federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) expressing concern about the cost-sharing requirements proposed in the waiver application. In addition, the proposal would impose work requirements and place limits on how long Medicaid patients can receive benefits under the program. Arthritis is the leading cause of work-related disability in the United States and these types of proposals can create barriers to accessing health care coverage. Read the letter here.
February 21, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Applauds FDA's Biosimilar Educational Materials
On February 21, the Arthritis Foundation and National Psoriasis Foundation sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expressing appreciation for efforts to advance innovative therapies and make biosimilar eduation materials available to health care providers. These educational tools can help prescribers learn about biosimilars and, subsequently, increase opportunities for patients to access new treatments. The letter also acknowledges our support for the FDA's scientific standards in evaluting the safety and efficacy of biosimilars. Read the letter here.
February 20, 2018
Proposed Short-Term Insurance Plans Could Leave Patients with Fewer Protections, Inadequate Coverage
On February 20, the Arthritis Foundation joined 16 patient and consumer groups to issue a statement on a proposed regulation released today by the federal Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services, which would expand the use of "short-term limited duration" insurance plans. The Arthritis Foundation is concerned these types of plans could exclude coverage for certain health care services, and allow insurers to charge individuals with a pre-existing condition higher rates. Read the statement here.
February 12, 2018
CDC Arthritis Coalition Statement on the President's Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request
On February 12, the president released the administration’s official budget request for fiscal year 2019. The budget would make cuts to the Chronic Disease Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The division houses the CDC Arthritis Program, the only federal program dedicated solely to arthritis. Read our coalition statement here.
February 9, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Praises Budget Deal, Permanent Repeal of Therapy Caps
Early Friday morning, Congress passed a significant bipartisan budget agreement that would fund many health care priorities important to the arthritis community, raise the budget caps for discretionary spending, and bring Congress closer to closing out work on the fiscal year 2018 appropriations process. Read our statement here. Do you want to learn more about the bipartisan budget agreement and what it means for the arthritis community? Click here to read our FAQ.
February 5, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Comments on Arizona's Proposed Medicaid Waiver
On February 5, the Arthritis Foundation joined a dozen patient organizations to submit comments to the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) expressing concern about the cost containment proposals in the state of Arizona's Medicaid waiver application. The waiver would impose work requirements and place limits on how long Medicaid patients can receive benefits under the program. Our letter follows similar comments submitted to HHS about waiver applications from the states of Kansas and New Mexico. Read the letter here.
January 30, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Comments on Proposed Medicaid Waiver from New Mexico
On January 30, the Arthritis Foundation joined eight patient organizations to submit comments to the federal Department of Health and Human Services expressing concern about some of the policy proposals in the state of New Mexico's Medicaid waiver application. While the Arthritis Foundation shares the goals outlined in the application - such as proposals that would enhance the health of patients with arthritis through coordinated care - new cost sharing and eligibility requirements could pose significant access barriers for patients on Medicaid. Read the letter here.
January 26, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Comments on Proposed Medicaid Waiver from Kansas
On January 26, the Arthritis Foundation joined several other patient organizations to oppose aspects of a proposed Medicaid waiver from the state of Kansas by sending a letter to the federal Department of Health and Human Services. The Kansas waiver would impose work requirements and place time limits on how long Medicaid patients can receive benefits under the program. Arthritis is the leading cause of work-related disability in the United States and these types of proposals can create barriers to accessing or maintaining health care coverage. Read the letter here.
January 25, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Comments on Request for Information to Barriers and Competition
On January 25, the Arthritis Foundation submitted comments in response to a request for information from the Department of Health and Human Services regarding choice and competition in Medicare, Medicaid, and the marketplaces. The comments highlighted concerns about the direction of the health care regulations, and the need to preserve important patient protections under current law, and the potential for erosion of network adequacy standards. Read the letter here.
January 19, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Joins 31 Organizations to Urge CMS to Suspend Application of Therapy Cap Policy
On January 19, the Arthritis Foundation joined dozens of organizations calling for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to suspend the application of the Medicare therapy cap policy. Beginning on January 1, 2018, there is a limit on the amount of outpatient rehabilitation services that the Medicare program will cover. Physical and occupational therapy plays an important role in the treatment of arthritis by improving mobility and restoring the use of affected joints, increasing strength to support the joints, and maintaining fitness and the ability to perform daily activities. Read the letter here.
January 17, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Applauds Consensus Statement on Improving Prior Authorization Process
On January 17, six organizations representing health care providers and health plans released a consensus statement to find opportunities to improve prior authorization programs. The Arthritis Foundation applauds the consensus statement, which follows a separate publication of 21 prior authorization and utilization management reform principles in 2017. The Arthritis Foundation was the only patient organization to participate in the development of these principles last year. The principles strongly urge health plans and benefit managers to apply the principles to utilization management programs for pharmacy and medical benefits. Read the principles here.
January 16, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Signs Coalition Letter Addressing Medicare Advantage and Part D Proposed Rule
On January 16, the Arthritis Foundation joined nearly three dozen organizations from MAPRx, a national coalition of beneficiary, caregiver and health care professional groups, to submit public comments on a proposed rule affecting Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D. The letter emphasized the need to balance prescription drug plan flexibility with protections for Medicare enrollees. Read the letter here.
June 19, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Joins 25 Organizations Expressing Disappointment Over Association Health Plan Regulation
On June 19, the Arthritis Foundation and over two dozen patient and consumer groups issued a statement on a final regulation released by the federal Department of Labor that would expand the use of association health plans. Under the rule, these types of plans would not need to meet all of the consumer protections under current law, including essential health benefits such as prescription drug coverage. Read our statement here.
June 18, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Supports Legislation in House of Representatives That Bans Pharmacist Gag Clauses
On June 18, the Arthritis Foundation sent a letter of support to the lead sponsors of legislation that would allow pharmacists to inform patients about alternative options to lower out-of-pocket costs. Today, so-called gag clauses prohibit a pharmacist from informing a patient about whether their medication could be cheaper if they paid cash versus using their health insurance. The bill is similar to legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate. Read the letter here.
April 20, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Submits Comments on Short-Term Plan Proposed Regulation
On April 20, the Arthritis Foundation submitted public comments to the federal Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury expressing concern about the administration’s proposal to expand the duration of short-term health plans. These types of insurance plans are not required to offer coverage for essential health benefits, such as prescription drugs, and can do not include protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The Foundation’s comments focused on the importance of patient protections under current law and the need to avoid finalizing the regulation as proposed. Read the letter here.
April 16, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Joined by Ten Patient and Provider Groups in Support of Federal Bill Addressing Gag Clauses
On April 16, the Arthritis Foundation sent a letter of support for legislation that would prohibit health plans from using so-called gag clauses, which can be used to prohibit the disclosure of pricing options to patients. Some pharmacists are required to sign “gag orders,” which can prevent a patient from making the cheaper choice of paying out of pocket for medication at the pharmacy counter, rather than paying a higher co-payment if they had used their health insurance. Read the letter here.
September 26, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Comments on South Dakota’s Medicaid Waiver
On September 26, the Arthritis Foundation submitted comments to the federal Department of Health and Human Services expressing concern about South Dakota’s Medicaid waiver. The waiver would implement work requirements in the state’s Medicaid program, which would increase administrative burden on patients enrolled in the program. Read the letter here.
September 26, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Joins Letter Expressing Concern About Step Therapy Guidance for Medicare Advantage Plans
On September 26, the Arthritis Foundation and over 80 patient and provider organizations sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services expressing concern about the recent guidance instituting step therapy in Medicare Advantage plans. The letter urges the administration to accompany the new policy with a set of patient protections. Read the letter here.
September 19, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Sends Letter on Pre-Existing Conditions Legislation
On September 19, the Arthritis Foundation joined with nearly three dozen patient and provider groups in a letter about legislation designed to address concerns with the potential impact of a court case in Texas that could roll back pre-existing conditions protections. While we believe the legislation is well-intended, it does not encompass all of the patient protections under current law. Read the letter here.
September 4, 2018
More Than 25 Patient and Consumer Groups Issue Statement on Pre-Existing Conditions Bill
On September 4, the Arthritis Foundation joined over two dozen patient and consumer groups in a statement expressing both appreciation and concern for legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate, which would prohibit the denial of coverage based on health status, but would not ban pre-existing condition exclusions or prevent insurers from varying premiums based on age, gender, or occupation. This means that people with chronic diseases could still face higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Read the statement here.
August 30, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Statement on CMS Guidance Providing for Indication-Based Drug Coverage in Part D
The Arthritis Foundation released a statement in response to the administration’s announcement of new guidance to Medicare Part D prescription drug plans about the use of indications-based formulary design. The type of plan design means that a drug could be placed on a formulary only for the specific indication for which it is most effective. This policy would likely further restrain the already narrow available treatments for inflammatory forms of arthritis. Read our statement here.
August 22, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Expresses Concern about Association Health Plan Provision in Farm Bill
The Arthritis Foundation joined 19 patient and health organizations to urge conferees of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act to omit language from the final conference report that would assist in the establishment of agriculture association health plans (AHPs). This language could impact access to affordable, adequate health insurance coverage for people with arthritis. Although many of our organizations expressed distaste for AHPs earlier in the year, these concerns were disregarded. Read the statement here.
August 16, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Comments on Reopened Kentucky Medicaid Waiver
On August 16, the Arthritis Foundation submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Kentucky’s waiver application, which seeks to include work requirements in Medicaid. CMS is the federal agency responsible for working with states to jointly administer the Medicaid program. Our comments focused on the complexities of treating arthritis on top of the administrative burden associated with a work requirement policy. Read our letter here.
August 8, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Statement on Step Therapy in Medicare Advantage
The administration announced a policy change that would permit Medicare Advantage plans to implement step therapy protocols. We have long been guided by the principle that patients who are stable on a medication should be able to remain on that medication. We're concerned this announcement could have unintended consequences or adverse impacts on patient health. Read our statement.
August 1, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Deeply Troubled by Administration’s Decision to Finalize Short Term Health Plan Regulation
The Arthritis Foundation joined 26 patient and consumer organizations to release a statement expressing significant concerns with a final regulation that expands short-term, limited duration health plans. Over 98 percent of health care stakeholders opposed the proposal last April yet these collective concerns were disregarded. Read the statement here.
July 25, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Applauds Focus on Health Savings Accounts by the House of Representatives
Today, the House of Representatives is scheduled to consider two bills addressing health savings accounts (HSAs). These types of accounts are paired with high deductible health plans (HDHPs). While these arrangements are by no means a comprehensive solution, we have consistently heard from people with arthritis who are increasingly enrolled in these plans and want greater flexibility to feel more confident health care needs are being met. Read our statement.
July 24, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Expresses Concern About New Insurance Practice That Could Increase Patient Out-of-Pocket Costs
Fifty-eight patient, provider, and consumer groups sent letters to every state insurance commissioner to sound the alarm on an emerging insurance practice that affects how a drug manufacturer copay card is applied to a patient’s deductible. The Arthritis Foundation does not take a position on copay cards but has heard from a number of arthritis patients that they have encountered this new insurance practice. Read the statement and a sample letter here.
July 16, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Submits Comments on Administration’s Drug Pricing Blueprint
On July 16, the Arthritis Foundation submitted comments to the federal Department of Health and Human Services in response to a request for information about strategies and opportunities to lower drug prices and reduce patient out-of-pocket costs in the Medicare program. Our letter emphasized that drug pricing and affordability are two issues that deeply impact people with arthritis, and we urged the administration to keep the patient perspective at the center of policy decisions. Read the letter here.
July 11, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Statement on Latest Health Insurance Marketplace Actions Taken by the Administration
Over the last week, the administration took two actions that have the potential to further destabilize the individual health insurance market by deciding to freeze certain payments to insurers that participate on the health insurance exchanges, and by cutting funding for organizations that help patients sign up for coverage. Read our statement on these actions here.
December 17, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Joins 37 Patient Organizations to Speak Out Against Recent Ruling in Texas Affordable Care Act Case
Following Friday’s ruling in the case of Texas vs. United States, which found all of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, the Arthritis Foundation joined over three dozen patient groups to issue a statement. Read the statement here.
November 27, 2018
The Arthritis Foundation and the California Rheumatology Alliance have partnered on a one-pager to help with implementation of new laws in California
The organizations hope that this document could be used as a resource for providers and patients to help clarify the recent changes to laws concerning prior authorization and step therapy requests. The document provides answers to frequently asked questions on how these utilization management tools are now used in the state. Resources such as links to the uniform prior authorization form, where to go to file and Independent Medical Review adn where to go to file a comoplaint to the Department of Managed Health Care are sure to make this a one stop shop for providers and patients when handling prior authorization and step therapy request in the states. Read the statement here.
October 24, 2018
Patient and Consumer Organizations Issue Statement on New Guidance that Relaxes Certain Patient Guardrails
On October 24, the Arthritis Foundation joined with the National Health Council and dozens of other organizations to urge withdrawal of new guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that would waive certain requirements under the Affordable Care Act that protect people with pre-existing conditions. While the new guidance provides states with additional flexibility, the Arthritis Foundation is concerned the changes will be at the expense of ensuring access to comprehensive health coverage for people with chronic diseases. Read the statement here.
October 9, 2018
Patient and Provider Organizations Urge Reauthorization of Pediatric Subspecialty Loan Repayment
On October 9, the Arthritis Foundation joined dozens of patient and provider organizations, including the American College of Rheumatology and American Academy of Pediatrics, to send a letter to the U.S. Senate urging key policymakers to reauthorize loan repayment for pediatric subspecialists like pediatric rheumatologists. Timely access to pediatric subspecialists is essential. Read the letter here.
October 1, 2018
Arthritis Foundation Urges Stronger Exceptions Process for Step Therapy in Medicare Advantage
On October 1, the Arthritis Foundation and 39 patient and provider organizations sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services urging a stronger exceptions process for new step therapy guidance. The guidance permits the use of step therapy for physician-administered drugs under Medicare Part B beginning in January 2019. When the policy was first announced in August, the Arthritis Foundation released a statement expressing disappointment with the guidance. Read the coalition letter here.
March 21, 2017
Arthritis Foundation Supports Medicaid Expansion along with Nearly 30 Other Patient Advocacy Organizations in Sign on Letter to House Leadership
The Arthritis Foundation speaks out against proposals to phase our Medicaid expansion along with nearly 30 other patient advocacy organizations in sign-on letter to House Leadership. The letter emphasizes that Medicaid is critical for patients, that converting the federal financing of Medicaid to a per capita cap system would negatively impact patients, and that failing to expand Medicaid would result in millions of people losing coverage. Moving forward, the Arthritis Foundation hopes to continue dialogue with House Leadership that will help to arrive at solutions that provide all Americans with high-quality, affordable care. Read the letter here!
March 21, 2017
Ann Palmer, President and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation, Addresses Congressional Leadership to Raise Concerns about the American Health Care Act
Ann Palmer addressed Congressional Leadership in a letter that expresses concern about the American Health Care Act (ACHA). The letter outlines several of our patient principles that the Arthritis Foundation is encouraged to see included in the AHCA, along with concerns about other patient protections not considered in the bill. These provisions are critical to ensure that arthritis patients can continue to access and afford their health care. The Arthritis Foundation remains concerned that some provisions of the AHCA could create access barriers to the care people with arthritis. Read the letter here.
March 15, 2017
Arthritis Foundation Encourages Members of Congress to Increase Funding and Support for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Arthritis Program
The Arthritis Foundation, along with seven other patient and provider groups, signed onto letters to the United States House of Representatives and Senate asking for both a strong topline appropriation for the CDC Division of Population Health, and an appropriation of $16 million to the CDC Arthritis Program in the FY18 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations bill. The letter calls on Members of Congress to increase in funding for the CDC Arthritis Program by $5 million to meet the growing demand and need for arthritis research in the United States. An estimated 78 million Americans will have arthritis by 2040. It is the leading cause of disability in the US, and it contributes to over $156 billion a year in direct medical costs and lost productivity. Read the letter to the Senate and the letter to the House.
March 15, 2017
Arthritis Foundation Comments on Proposed Rule on Orthotics and Prosthetics from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a rule that would add requirements to the credentials needed for qualified practitioners to furnish and fabricate prosthetics and custom-fabricated orthotics, and for qualified suppliers to fabricate prosthetics and custom-fabricated orthotics. The Arthritis Foundation has submitted public comments to CMS seeking further clarification on certain provisions of the rule. The Foundation cannot support any provisions that could disrupt patient care and diminish quality of life for arthritis patients. Read the letter here.
March 13, 2017
Arthritis is a complex, chronic condition and people with arthritis depend on access to timely, ongoing care to control their disease. For many, access to health care is the difference between being disabled and being a fully functioning member of society.
The Arthritis Foundation believes people with arthritis should not fear that they will be unable to afford or access health care, including physicians, medications and other treatments. As such, we are sharing the principles we urge Congress to consider as it works towards health reform replacement legislation.
March 9, 2017
Arthritis Foundation Signs Letter to Support Reduced Out of Pocket Costs for Patients in Health Care Reform
The Arthritis Foundation joined 35 patient and provider groups to sign onto a letter from the Coalition for Accessible Treatments to urge the leadership on Capitol Hill to ensure healthcare legislation related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reduces out-of-pocket costs for patients and their families. The Arthritis Foundation is committed to continuing to protect patients with arthritis conditions attain access to the treatments they need. Read the letter here.
March 7, 2017
The Arthritis Foundation Submits Testimony in Support of Increased Funding for the CDC Arthritis Program
The Arthritis Foundation submitted written testimony to the House Appropriations Committee asking for an increase in funding for the CDC Arthritis Program – the only federal program dedicated solely to arthritis – and for sufficient funding for the National Institutes of Health to build on its investment in arthritis research. Read the testimony here.
March 3, 2017
Arthritis Foundation Sends Letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Important Insurance Market Protections
The Arthritis Foundation sent a letter to HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD on a proposal he put out intended to stabilize the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Health Exchange market. The proposal would make changes to open enrollment periods and annual guarantees of coverage, among other things. The Arthritis Foundation stressed the need for people with arthritis to have personalized resources to help them make the best health plan decisions, and to have continuous, affordable access to the care that best suits their needs. Read the letter here.
February 17, 2017
Arthritis Foundation Submits Comments to The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) on their Draft Evidence Report for their Review of Rheumatoid Arthritis Drugs
The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) recently published a draft evidence report on the review of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) drugs. The Arthritis Foundation has provided written and verbal commentary to ICER on this report to help to ensure that patient voices are heard by ICER. It is imperative that input from patients and providers is considered and included during the development of a review for life changing treatments like those used for rheumatoid arthritis. Read the letter here.
Visit our page to learn more about the written and verbal commentary we have provided to ICER.
February 13, 2017
Arthritis Foundation Signs Letter to the Trump Administration in Support of Patient Centered Health Care Reform
The Arthritis Foundation, along with 200 other patient and community organizations, signed onto an I Am Essential coalition letter to the newly confirmed Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price. The letter advocates for patient centric health reform legislation and urges the Trump administration to maintain the many important protections patients have gained through the Affordable Care Act that ensure they can access the care and treatment their providers prescribe. In the letter, the coalition supports accessibility, affordability, quality, responsiveness, choices and transparency, and innovative patient-care. Read the letter here.
January 30, 2017
ICER is a Boston-based non-profit organization that evaluates the clinical effectiveness and the cost of medical tests, treatments and delivery system innovations. Currently, ICER is reviewing rheumatoid arthritis therapies and will develop a report assessing their clinical effectiveness and value. ICER has also developed a value assessment framework to assess the cost and value of medications that many stakeholders have called into question. The Arthritis Foundation has provided written and verbal commentary and input to ICER at all available points so far in this evaluation process for RA drugs.
August 29, 2017
Arthritis Foundation Comments on Medicare Physician Fee Schedule
The Arthritis Foundation submitted public comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) for calendar year 2018. The fee schedule is used by Medicare to reimburse physicians for services. The Foundation focused its comments on the current policy for reimbursing biosimilar drugs. Read the letter.
August 18, 2017
Arthritis Foundation Sends Comment to the Washington Insurance Commissioner Regarding Prior Authorization
On August 18, the Arthritis Foundation submitted comments to the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner regarding their call for written comments on prior authorization gold card programs.
The Arthritis Foundation appreciates that the Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner is considering this important issue and is soliciting public comments on optimizing prior authorization. A standardized process for prior authorization approvals through the use of a gold card program would greatly benefit all stakeholders in the health care system, and in particular the millions of patients across the state who rely on regular, timely access to treatment to manage their disease. Read the letter.
Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act Signed Into Law
President Trump signed the Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act into law, which reauthorizes critical user fee agreements allowing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to continue its mission of regulating drugs and devices. Every five years, Congress must pass legislation reauthorizing the fees that the FDA receives from drug and device companies. These fees help fund the FDA’s work to review and approve new medicines and devices. We are pleased that the act emphasizes the importance of including the patient's voice in drug development and decision-making. Our community of advocates look forward to continued opportunities to engage with the FDA.
The Arthritis Foundation was engaged with the FDA and lawmakers in reauthorizing the act for nearly two years. Our work included providing feedback on appropriate patient engagement as well as organizing a day in March for members of the Arthritis Foundation's Board of Directors to educate Congress on the importance of patient-centered strategies in the drug approval process.
Arthritis Foundation Offers Policy Recommendations to Strengthen Affordable Care Act
On August 16, the Arthritis Foundation sent a letter to House and Senate leadership describing four policy recommendations that can help strengthen and improve the Affordable Care Act. The Foundation sent the letter after Congress indicated it was renewing efforts to find bipartisan solutions. Read the letter.
Arthritis Foundation Joins 12 Patient Advocacy Organizations to Urge Bipartisan Solutions for Health Reform
On August 2, 2017, the Arthritis Foundation joined 12 other patient advocacy organizations to urge Congress to work together in a bipartisan manner to improve and strengthen the nation’s health care system. The statement emphasizes the need for Congress to work across the aisle to identify policy solutions that help stabilize the insurance marketplace and address affordability of health care for patients. Read the letter.
Repeal Bill Fails in the Senate. What Happens Next?
Last Friday, the Senate’s effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) failed by a vote of 49 to 51. While it is unclear what Senate leaders will do next, a bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled a plan today with the short-term goal of stabilizing the insurance markets. The lawmakers also proposed a number of ideas they believe can be accepted by a majority of the Members of Congress as long-term fixes. The Arthritis Foundation, along with many other patient advocacy groups, has long called for bipartisan solutions to strengthen current laws and will be working in the coming months to ensure that the issues people with arthritis face remain at the forefront of Congressional discussions.
Response to Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimates on Proposed Repeal and Replace Health Care Legislation
Congressional Budget Office recently released cost estimates on various versions of recently proposed health care repeal and replace legislation. We believe Americans deserve a transparent health care system that allows for informed decisions but does not put people at risk of losing coverage. Read our full statement here.
ACA Repeal Statement
The Arthritis Foundation joined 14 other nonpartisan patient and provider groups representing millions of Americans in issuing a statement imploring lawmakers to sit down in a bipartisan fashion and draft a new health care bill that will strengthen and expand access to affordable and adequate health care coverage. Read the statement here.
December 20, 2017
Arthritis Foundation Urges Congress to Stabilize Insurance Market After Repealing Individual Mandate
On December 20, the Arthritis Foundation joined 16 patient advocacy organizations expressing disappointment that the individual mandate was repealed in tax reform legislation. In the absence of the individual mandate, we urge Congress to swiftly consider short- and long-term solutions to stabilize insurance markets. Read the statement here.
November 27, 2017
Arthritis Foundation Comments on The Proposed HHS Notice Benefits and Payment Parameters Rule for 2019
The Arthritis Foundation submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the proposed Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2019. The proposal affects the insurance exchanges. Our comments focused on the need to maintain important patient protections under current law, such as preserving the essential health benefits. Read the letter. The Foundation also joined 138 other patient groups by signing on to an I Am Essential Coalition letter to express similar concern about the proposals. Read the coalition letter here.
November 17, 2017
Arthritis Foundation Comments on New Direction for CMMI
The Arthritis Foundation submitted public comments to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). The CMMI supports the development and testing of innovative health care payment and delivery models, and is seeking to chart a new direction that would empower patients and health care consumers. The Foundation focused its comments on the importance of placing patients at the center of the CMMI’s work, and ensuring their perspectives are incorporated into new models of care. Read our comments.
November 14, 2017
Arthritis Foundation Concerned by Individual Mandate Repeal in Tax Reform Package
Congressional leaders are expected to move forward with a repeal of the individual mandate in their tax reform legislation. The individual mandate, established by the Affordable Care Act, requires individuals to have health insurance or face a tax penalty. The individual mandate helps to stabilize the health insurance marketplace by assuring all Americans have access to affordable, quality care. The Arthritis Foundation released the following statement expressing concern about the latest development and the impact such a move could have on the stability of the health insurance marketplace. Read our statement.
November 2, 2017
Arthritis Community Applauds CMS Decision to Reverse Biosimilars Policy
Together with the American College of Rheumatology, National Psoriasis Foundation, and American Autoimmune and Related Diseases Association, the Arthritis Foundation applauds the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for its reversal in policy for how it reimburses for biosimilars in Medicare Part B. Read our joint statement and find out what it means now that this policy is reversed.
October 27, 2017
Arthritis Foundation Urges Patient-Centered Solutions as Cornerstone of Department of Health and Human Services Strategic Plan
On Friday, October 27, the Arthritis Foundation submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services in response to their Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2018-2022. In the letter, the Arthritis Foundation encourages HHS to continue working toward a goal of patient-centered health care solutions and modernizing the nation's health care system to protect Americans no matter where they may live across the country. Click here to read more.
October 26, 2017
Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act Would Benefit Patients and Families
On Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analyzed bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), finding that the bill would result in savings to the federal government, no impact on insurance premiums for 2018, and no substantial change in the number of insured individuals across the country. The Arthritis Foundation is pleased with the CBO report and released a joint statement with seventeen other nonpartisan patient, provider, and consumer groups to urge Congress to take action on this legislation. Read the statement here.
October 19, 2017
Arthritis Foundation Praises Bipartisan Agreement to Provide Stability to Individual Insurance Markets
On Tuesday, October 17, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) announced a tentative bipartisan agreement to stabilize the individual health insurance markets. The legislation also preserves and supports key protections for individuals with preexisting conditions and is a positive first step to stabilize the individual insurance markets. The Arthritis Foundation joined 28 other patient and provider groups praising the return to bipartisanship. In its current form, the plan would maintain access to quality and affordable health care for all Americans. Read the statement here.
October 13, 2017
Answering Your Questions About the Latest Administration Actions on Health Care
On October 12, 2017, the Administration took two actions on health care that could affect coverage for people who have health insurance through the exchanges. President Trump signed an executive order that opens the door for the expansion of Association Health Plans, which aren’t subject to the same level of patient protections as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Second, the Administration announced the discontinuation of cost-sharing reduction payments, which are payments to health insurers that help reduce out-of-pocket costs for low income people who purchase insurance on the health exchanges. Learn more about how these actions could impact patients here.
October 13, 2017
Arthritis Foundation Implores Congress to Fund Cost-Sharing Payments
On Friday, the Arthritis Foundation joined 11 other patient groups expressing disappointment that the Administration has decided to discontinue funding for cost-sharing reduction payments, which are made to insurers to help reduce out-of-pocket costs for low income people to purchase insurance on the health care exchanges. The letter urged Congress to take immediate bipartisan action to fund these payments. Click here to read further.
October 12, 2017
Arthritis Foundation & 17 Other Groups Express Concern About the President’s Executive Order on Health Insurance
On Thursday, the Arthritis Foundation, along with 17 other groups, expressed concern about how the Administration’s health care executive order would impact patient protections. The executive order opens the door to a weakening of important patient protections like essential health benefits, such as prescription drugs. The order also has the potential to price people with pre-existing conditions out of the individual insurance marketplace. Click here to read more.
September 26, 2017
Arthritis Foundation Pleased Graham-Cassidy Will Not Come Up for Vote; Urges Return to Bipartisanship
With limited support for the bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced today the bill will not be called for vote. While we are pleased Graham-Cassidy will not move forward, we recognize that improvements must be made. We urge members of Congress to revisit the bipartisan process started earlier this month. Read our full statement.
September 25, 2017
Arthritis Foundation: Concerned Graham-Cassidy Could Jeopardize Care for the Arthritis Community
The Arthritis Foundation continues to strongly urge Congress to consider bipartisan solutions to strengthen the health care system. We believe that patients are the ultimate stakeholders in health care, and the Graham-Cassidy bill would jeopardize care for far too many. Read our statement on the legislation.
September 18, 2017
Arthritis Foundation Joins 15 Patient and Provider Groups to Oppose Latest Bill to Repeal and Replace Affordable Care Act
On September 18, the Arthritis Foundation joined over a dozen patient and provider organizations to oppose the latest bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The bill was introduced last week by Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and does not adequately protect people with pre-existing conditions and does not align with the Arthritis Foundation’s legislative patient principles. The Arthritis Foundation continues to strongly urge Congress to consider bipartisan solutions to strengthen the health care system, most recently in a letter sent to Congressional leadership last month. Read the statement on the legislation.
September 8, 2017
Arthritis Foundation Sends Comments to the California Department of Managed Health Care Regarding Standardized Formularies
The Arthritis Foundation submitted comments on the proposed rulemaking regarding standardized formularies in California, as a result of the passage of Senate Bill 1052. Formulary transparency and adequacy make it easier for those with serious conditions to choose a plan that will cover the prescription medications they need. We were supportive of Senate Bill 1052 when it went through the legislative process, including sending letters and organizing patients to testify during hearings. Read our comments.