AIDS Healthcare Foundation staged a march yesterday outside U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon’s (R-Ind.) Terre Haute office to protest his bill that would require 340B disproportionate share hospitals to report data about patients who get 340B drugs, spending on charity care, public-payer reimbursement shortfalls, 340B savings, and how those savings are used.
Bucshon’s bill would also let the Secretary of Health and Human Services impose reporting requirements on other types of covered entities. It also would let the Department of Health and Human Services audit health care provider records to determine how they use their net income from 340B drug purchases.
The House Energy & Commerce Committee voted 29-22 on May 24 to pass it. Just one Democrat, Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), voted for the bill, H.R. 3290.
“Congressman Bucshon’s proposed changes seriously will harm the providers, entities, and patients who rely on the services paid for by savings from the 340B program,” AHF said in a news release about the march. “Rep. Bucshon’s bill is a Trojan horse, claiming to promote transparency while handing the drug industry the knife to cut a hole in the healthcare safety net vulnerable populations depend on for access to care.”
During committee consideration of his bill, Bucshon said, “The only way for us as lawmakers to understand what this program looks like for our constituents is to go to each hospital and ask them for their data.”
“Transparency will not only give all of us the confidence that the program is being properly utilized, but will help institutions defend themselves against such charges if they are doing the right thing,” he said.
In response to a local television station’s request for comment about the protest, Bucshon’s office issued this statement on his behalf: “A lack of transparency in the 340B program isn’t my opinion, it’s the assessment of the Government Accountability Office that has highlighted this in multiple reports, the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra, who told the House Energy and Commerce Committee in March that the program ‘doesn’t have the transparency we need,’ and the Biden Administration, whose budget for this year called for greater transparency and auditing of the program. My legislation doesn’t change the 340B program’s benefits in any way, it simply asks hospitals participating in the program to report to the federal government on things like their patient mix, the total amount of charity care they provide, their payer shortfall, and their total 340B savings across a year. This basic level of transparency will provide information about the patients who are being served by the 340B program and will give all Americans the confidence that the program is being properly utilized to benefit patients.”