Immediately before the before December Congressional Recess and with little public notice or input, Congressman Larry Bucshon (R-IN, 8th District) introduced H.R. 4710, a bill that will, “… establish a moratorium on the registration of certain new 340B hospitals and associated sites.”
Bucshon’s bill strangles non-profit hospitals with useless red tape, forcing many to forgo the drug discount program, resulting in reduced healthcare for people—including for individuals in his own state.
TERRE HAUTE, IN (January 18, 2018) A group of 25 to 35 HIV/AIDS and drug pricing advocates, including many from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), staged a protest and picket line in front of the Terre Haute district office of Indiana Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D., (R-IN, 8th District) on THURSDAY, JANUARY 18th to denounce and protest his recent introduction of federal legislation that would severely curtail nonprofit hospitals’ participation in a federally-administered drug discount program that costs the government and taxpayers nothing, and which was specifically created to extend the lifeline of care and services that safety net hospitals and providers are able to deliver. Bucshon, an Indiana Republican from Newburgh in Warrick County, co-sponsored the bill with San Diego, California Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA, 52nd District).
Bucshon, who has served in Congress since 2011, has taken more than $27,000 in campaign contributions from Indiana-based drug giant Eli Lilly & Co. in the last two House election cycles—and in the 2015-2016, cycle, Lilly was the single largest contributor to his campaign. He introduced the bill, (H.R. 4710) which stops additional hospitals from participating in the 340B drug pricing discount program, on the Thursday before Christmas with little public input.
“Congressman Bucshon’s bill will gut the 340B drug pricing program and make it much harder for nonprofit hospitals to participate in a very worthy and innovative program that provides more care—and costs the federal government nothing—in order to make pharma donors like Eli Lilly & Co. and other drug industry operators richer,” said Tracy Jones, National Director of Advocacy Campaigns for AHF. “This bill is a solution in search of a problem that does not exist.”
“This is death by a thousand cuts, another salvo in the war against the poor and a move that will harm many vulnerable citizens”, said Tom Myers, General Counsel and Chief of Public Affairs for AHF. “Congressman Bucshon’s bill will strangle hospitals with useless red tape, meaning many will use the program less. There are numerous nonprofit hospitals in his district using 340B to respond to all sorts of issues, including the opioid epidemic, and this legislation will harm them and many other of Congressman Bucshon’s constituents.”
The 340B program was enacted by Congress as part of the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992 to allow designated safety net medical providers, called “covered entities”, to purchase prescription outpatient drugs directly from pharmaceutical manufacturers at discounted prices. As a discount program, 340B costs federal taxpayers and the government nothing. Congress itself expressed that the goal of the program is “to enable [covered entities] to stretch scarce Federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.”
Following are links to some of the media coverage of the Bucshon/340B protest in Terre Haute:
The Tribune Star article:
Indiana Public Media (WTIU, WFIU [NPR])
For more information, visit www.Let340B.org