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PhRMA, Families USA Jointly Promote Measures to Ensure Quality, Affordable Healthcare Coverage

WASHINGTON, April 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the national consumer health organization Families USA today unveiled a campaign to promote three key policies designed to help achieve high-quality, affordable health coverage for all Americans.

PhRMA and Families USA will work together and will reach out to other stakeholders to ensure that these policies are incorporated in the healthcare reform proposals to be considered this year. The two groups' efforts will include an advertising campaign and grassroots mobilization.

"Although our views do not always converge, we share a common belief about a fundamental goal of healthcare reform: Every American deserves high-quality, affordable health coverage and care," said PhRMA President and CEO Billy Tauzin and Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack.

With this goal in mind, PhRMA and Families USA have partnered together to promote three essential elements of healthcare reform.

First, the two organizations will promote the establishment of a nationwide Medicaid eligibility floor at 133 percent of the federal poverty level -- almost $24,400 in annual income for a family of three. In 43 states, childless adults are currently ineligible for Medicaid even if they are literally penniless.

Second, we propose providing sliding-scale subsidies to moderate-income people who earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but can't afford insurance premiums. Such subsidies are crucial for the purchase of healthcare in a reformed insurance market. A similar system exists today in Massachusetts.

Third, PhRMA and Families USA will seek a meaningful cap on out-of-pocket health expenditures so that no family is unable to afford essential care. This will also protect families against bankruptcy due to their need for major care.

In tandem with this proposal Families and PhRMA will work together to raise awareness of the health care available under Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to eligible individuals who have not enrolled.

"The proposed policies we will actively promote are not novel, but they are essential building blocks for making health coverage affordable," said Pollack. "These policies fit well within the health reform framework likely to be considered by Congress and the President."

"While this proposal does not replace the need for comprehensive healthcare reform, our joint plan will help ensure that healthcare is accessible and affordable to those Americans who need it most," said Tauzin. "This proposal is consistent with our vision of building on the employer-based system and expanding private health insurance coverage -- which is critical to assuring competition choice and innovation -- while also recognizing the importance of building on existing public programs."

PhRMA and Families USA will initiate a print advertising campaign this week in support of the groups' shared policy objectives. In addition, later this month, the groups intend to launch a television ad campaign around the country.

Families USA is the national organization for health care consumers. It is nonprofit and nonpartisan, and its mission is to achieve high-quality, affordable health care for all.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $50.3 billion in 2008 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.2 billion in 2008.

SOURCE Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America; Families USA
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