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Eliminate Cost-Sharing for Medicaid Preventive Services, Partnership Urges House Committee

WASHINGTON July 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Partnership for Prevention today urged the House Energy and Commerce Committee to prohibit cost-sharing to Medicaid patients for recommended clinical preventive services.

Partnership President Robert J. Gould praised an amendment offered by Rep. Lois C. Capps, D-Calif., to a historic health reform bill being crafted by the Committee. Her amendment would eliminate cost-sharing requirements for Medicaid clinical preventive services that have been recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

"This amendment delivers one of the eight consumer protections that President Obama recently outlined for health reform legislation," said Gould.

"Charging co-pays and deductibles for preventive services to low-income, underserved populations makes no sense," Gould added. "The purpose of cost-sharing is to discourage over-use of a service. But preventive services are under-utilized in the United States, and this is partially responsible for rising health care costs."

"Chronic diseases are causing health care costs to spiral upward, and Medicaid patients are already among the most underserved and at-risk populations for these conditions," Gould said. "At the same time, they are among those who can least afford high out-of-pocket costs. We should be encouraging - not discouraging - the use of preventive services as a way to help keep this vulnerable population healthy. Waiting for people to get sick and need expensive treatment isn't real health reform. Real health reform starts with prevention."

The USPSTF reviews scientific evidence on clinical preventive services and rates them according to their effectiveness. A Partnership for Prevention study of USPSTF recommendations found 17 clinical preventive services that either save money or are cost-effective (cost less than $50,000 per quality-adjusted life year, or QALY). Of those 17, it found 10 that cost less than $15,000 per QALY.

Partnership for Prevention is a non-profit organization of business, government and health leaders working to make disease prevention and health promotion a national priority.

SOURCE Partnership for Prevention
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