BIO Adopts Critical Principles on Universal Access to Health Care and Solving America’s Health Care Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Tuesday, January 13, 2009) - With health care reform expected to be a critical debate in the incoming Obama administration, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today unveiled key principles in support of the availability of health care to all Americans.  According to BIO, any meaningful healthcare reform proposal must incorporate these three principles:

• The nation’s public policy goal should be universal access to affordable, high-quality health care for all Americans.

• 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.

• Market-based solutions are essential for maintaining the conditions that have led to America’s leadership position in health care innovation.

 “The biotechnology industry has the most potential to develop new cures and therapies for some of the world's most intractable diseases, such as cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes,” stated Jim Greenwood, BIO’s President and CEO.   “BIO supports universal access to affordable, sustainable, high-quality health care for all.  We believe that market-based reforms provide the best opportunity to achieve universal access, while also providing high quality care and incentives for discovering and developing innovative treatments.”

BIO and its member companies are committed to getting the right medical product to the right patient at the right time.  “We can only achieve this goal,” Greenwood noted, “if effective and sustainable solutions are provided to ensure more people have health care coverage and are able to gain access to the latest innovations in medical treatment while maintaining incentives for innovation.”

BIO has identified the following issues that are critical for policymakers to address as they craft new health care policies:

• Ensure Universal Access to Appropriate Innovative Therapies.  BIO believes that 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.  Many of BIO’s member companies provide assistance to financially vulnerable patients to access needed therapies.

• Implement Consumer-Oriented Solutions to Increase Patient Access.  BIO 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.  BIO supports increasing education aimed at helping the uninsured understand which programs are available to them.  Additionally, BIO supports reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).  To the extent that Medicaid and SCHIP are expanded, BIO believes that such expansions will be most effective if they are done concurrently with consumer-oriented reforms.

• Enhance Individual and Employer Responsibility. BIO and its members believe that individuals must take greater responsibility for their own health, and that it is critical for all individuals be insured for the benefit of the entire health care system and have access to critical life-saving 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.  BIO also believes that patients should have access to continuous health care coverage and supports policies 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. BIO supports reforming our public and private health system to reflect the importance of preventative health and to ensure that more extensive preventative health services are made available.

• Embrace Information Technology that Improves the Quality and Delivery 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.  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 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 principles on universal access to health care can be viewed at

Upcoming BIO Events

BIO-Asia Partnering Conference 2009
January 19-20, 2009
Tokyo, Japan

BIO CEO & Investor Conference 2009
February 9-10, 2009
New York, New York

BIO-Europe Spring
March 16-18, 2009
Milan, Italy

BIO Windhover 2009
April 13-15, 2009
New York, New York

2009 BIO International Convention
May 18-21, 2009
Atlanta, Ga. 

BioEquity Europe
June 9-10, 2009
Munich, Germany

World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology & Bioprocessing
July 19-22, 2009
Montreal, Quebec, Canada


About BIO

BIO represents more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world.