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Call on Congress to Reconsider Binding Arbitration Proposals!

Calling all seniors! Did you know that Congress is considering a health care policy that would utilize binding arbitration to set prescription drug prices? This practice, which some policymakers incorrectly assume will be more effective than free market negotiations, could authorize third party arbitrators to set legally binding prices using standards set by the government.

This harmful proposal could affect Medicare Part D beneficiaries by fundamentally altering the competitive structure of the Part D program that allows for increased choice and lower costs for seniors. In fact, binding arbitration could even reduce incentives for cost-saving features like rebates, which helped seniors save up to 70 percent on some medicines.

Binding arbitration is a dangerous proposal that would likely undervalue individualized care for seniors. Inserting government bureaucrats in the middle of the doctor-patient relationship not only allows biased, controversial third parties to dictate the price of care for vulnerable patients but it could also disrupt already effective treatment plans. Further, these government middlemen could also reduce incentives needed for progress in drug innovation and stifle progress in the pharmaceutical space.

It is critical that we call on Members of Congress to abandon this harmful proposal for the sake of seniors nationwide. Threatening access for life-saving medications, disruptions in the doctor-patient relationship, and a decreased focus on medical innovation is simply wrong.

Join us TODAY in telling your Member of Congress to reject this dangerous proposal for the health and wellbeing of seniors and people with disabilities nationwide. You can help send this message by signing on to this letter here!

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The Women Who Changed the Face of Healthcare

Did you know in 1987, Congress designated March Women’s History Month? In celebration, I thought it appropriate to reflect on a few trailblazers who made advances in medicine and science during times when women in healthcare and research weren’t all too common. Without these innovators, modern medicine as we know it would not be the same.

One such example is Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell. Born in 1821, Dr. Blackwell was inspired to become a physician after the death of a close friend. Despite others telling her it was impossible, she became the first woman to receive a medical degree from an American medical school. Over the years, she practiced in London, Paris, and New York, and eventually oversaw the opening of the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children (now called the New York University Downtown Hospital) to both care for the poor and train women physicians and nurses.

A contemporary of Dr. Blackwell, Florence Nightingale, was herself responsible for forever changing the nursing profession. Gaining prominence during the Crimean War when she reduced the British field hospital’s death rate by two-thirds, she overhauled poor hospital conditions in which wounded soldiers were treated and earned the nicknames “The Lady with the Lamp” and “The Angel of Crimea.” Her efforts warranted commendations from Queen Victoria, and even when she was bedridden and homebound, she continued to study and write about improving patient care.

Ten years after Nightingale’s death, Rosalind Franklin was born. Largely unrecognized even today for her revolutionary accomplishments, she learned numerous X-ray photography techniques, with one of her photographs of DNA structure used by other scientists to prove the existence of the DNA double-helix, a discovery for which she received only a footnote’s credit. Even when this was brought to her attention, she didn’t actively seek credit for a discovery largely based on her research.

Today, more women are changing the face of medicine than ever before. One such innovator is Patricia Bath, the first African-American female doctor to receive a medical patent. Bath graduated high school in just two years and graduated from Howard University’s medical school with honors before receiving a fellowship at Columbia University. She was also the first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology. Bath received her patent for the invention of the Laserphaco Probe, a device that treats cataracts and helped restore eyesight to some who had lost it.

These women represent just a small sampling of those who have forever benefitted medical practice and study. Without them, the technologies and practices employed in modern healthcare may not exist, and many treatments we take for granted would be impossible. This Women’s History Month, let’s remember those women who devoted their own lives to making all of ours better.