Providing education and information regarding the programs which many of the uninsured are currently eligible for, but are not enrolled in, is an essential step to ensure that existing solutions and programs are fully utilized by the most vulnerable individuals. Outreach and awareness programs should be enhanced to ensure that those who are eligible do not face complex obstacles in enrollment, such as language barriers, complicated application processes, or inconsistencies between Medicaid and SCHIP rules and regulations. In addition to increased education efforts, BIO supports continued reauthorization of SCHIP. To the extent that Medicaid and/or SCHIP are expanded, BIO believes that such expansions will be most efficient if they are done concurrently with consumer-oriented reforms.
4. Enhance individual and employer responsibility in accessing health care coverage.
BIO and its members believe that individuals must take greater responsibility for their own health and obtaining health coverage. It is critical that all individuals be insured for the benefit of the entire health care system and have access to critical life-saving preventive care measures, such as immunizations, early detection and screening. Incentives should be provided to ensure that all eligible individuals participate in health plans where offered, either by employers or through the individual market. At the same time, employers, particularly small businesses, should have incentives to make providing health care to employees both affordable and efficient. Caring for uninsured individuals places a heavy burden on the health care system, with federal and state governments, as well as providers assuming significant responsibility for the costs associated with uncompensated care. These costs are ultimately passed on to insured individuals in the form of higher premiums and to all taxpayers. BIO also believes that patients should have access to continuous health care coverage and supports policies that improve health insurance portability.
5. Strengthen our nation’s health through increased access to preventive health measures.
Improvements to our health system are needed to ensure that all individuals have better, timelier access to care and therapies. Preventive health measures, such as screenings and immunizations, should be viewed as potential life-saving tools that will improve a patient’s quality of life. Early detection is essential for the early intervention and successful treatment of disease, and all patients should have access to these services. Our public and private health system should be reformed to reflect the importance of preventative health and in doing so, ensure that more extensive preventive health services are made available.
6. Embrace new technologies such as information technology that can improve the quality and delivery of health care.
The widespread adoption of secure and interoperable health information technology (health IT) has the potential to improve the quality of care while curbing the costs of health care. BIO supports efforts to promote the adoption of health IT, aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of America’s health care system. It is also essential to improve efforts to coordinate data on clinical outcomes, so that physicians have access to the right data to make informed decisions about best practices, and to ensure that patients have the best treatments.
7. Recognize that universal access is most likely to be achieved through the employment of a combination of many coordinated solutions.
In order to better understand the effectiveness and implications of different approaches, federal and state governments should examine and learn from state and private sector initiatives that have proposed or implemented universal health coverage reforms. These proposals aim to affordably expand and improve health coverage through a combination of solutions that may be applicable in other states or at the Federal level.
BIO’s members remain committed to advancing innovation and developing new therapies and diagnostics to improve patient health. BIO welcomes the opportunity to continue to work with policymakers and other stakeholders on ways to improve access to innovative medical therapies, and to ensure that the most appropriate care is delivered to each patient.