Matsui Leads Colleagues in Introducing Bipartisan Legislation to Protect 340B Drug Pricing Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Reps. Chris Stewart (R-UT), Cindy Axne (D-IA), David McKinley (R-WV), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) introduced a bill to protect hospitals from losing eligibility for the 340B drug pricing program during the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

“Last year, many of America’s hospitals on the front lines of the pandemic postponed non-emergency services to prevent the spread of the virus. For our safety net providers, that meant caring for the influx of COVID-19 patients while still functioning as the essential support system for the medically vulnerable and underserved,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “The 340B program has long been critical to delivering life-saving drugs and care to low-income patients and is essential to providing a more equitable health care delivery system. This bill will ensure that these essential providers will be able to continue to serve as our nation’s most vulnerable patients and continue as our nation’s health safety net as we move forward down the road to recovery.”

“There has never been a more important time to ensure rural and vulnerable communities receive the care they need,” said Rep. Stewart. “In the wake of COVID-19, hospitals have been forced to provide unprecedented care in unprecedented conditions. I’m proud to join my colleagues, both Democrat and Republican, in ensuring these heroic efforts don’t jeopardize a hospital’s eligibility for the 340B program.”

“COVID-19 has pushed our health care providers to the brink, forcing our hospitals to adapt to a deadly pandemic while still providing medical care every single day to Iowans in need. Those adaptations, made during a public health emergency, shouldn’t put those same providers at risk of being unable to provide low cost prescription drugs to Iowans through the 340B program,” said Rep. Axne. “This commonsense bill would acknowledge the difficult times our providers have navigated with grit and determination, and ensure red tape doesn’t keep Iowans from having access to affordable medication.”

“The 340B drug pricing program has been an important tool for West Virginia's safety net providers, providing them with the flexible resources needed to meet the ongoing needs of their underserved communities,” said Rep. Mckinley. “The 340B program was created to help safety-net providers care for patients by reducing the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. Our bipartisan bill ensures that our hospitals can maintain eligibility throughout and after the pandemic.

“The 340B program is vital to the continuation of community-focused healthcare in Virginia, as it provides patients with low-cost access to lifesaving prescription drugs. We should be taking steps to protect this program for the 22 Virginia hospitals that participate — not removing eligibility from healthcare providers just as they are rebuilding in the wake of a global pandemic,” said Rep. Spanberger. “This bipartisan bill stands up for some of Virginia’s most vulnerable patients as they still grapple with COVID-19’s significant costs and human impacts. I’d like to thank my colleagues for recognizing the importance of protecting all hospitals whose 340B eligibility has already been impacted or is now at risk. Higher drug prices would put more financial strain on our healthcare infrastructure, particularly in our rural communities, and this legislation would take palpable steps to stop this unnecessary disruption.”

“COVID-19 transformed our healthcare system overnight. Our hospitals quickly adapted to provide high-quality care,” said Rep. Johnson. “This bill ensures that hospitals are not penalized for meeting the needs of their communities during these uncertain times.”

“We are grateful for Representative Matsui’s leadership on this bipartisan show of support for safety-net hospitals participating in 340B,” said Maureen Testoni, President and CEO of 340B Health. “As front line providers in the COVID-19 pandemic, 340B DSH hospitals have had to adjust to changes in the health care delivery system that can change their patient mix and negatively affect their 340B status. This much-needed legislation will protect these hospitals and the patients they serve until our nation fully emerges from this historic public health emergency.”

Under the 340B program, drug manufacturers agree to provide outpatient drugs at a discount to safety-net providers that serve our most vulnerable Americans, including low-income Medicare, Medicaid and Supplemental Security Insurance patients. These providers include Medicare disproportionate share (“DSH”) hospitals, children’s hospitals, free-standing cancer hospitals, and rural hospitals.

Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, hospitals experienced significant changes to the number of inpatient hospital admissions of low-income Medicare and Medicaid patients when non-emergency services were postponed. This bill waives 340B criteria that require hospitals to have a sufficient Medicare disproportionate share hospital (DSH) adjustment percentage on the most recent Medicare cost reports submitted for 340B eligibility. The legislation ensures protections for all hospitals whose 340B participation has already been impacted or is at risk of being impacted by COVID-19.

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