Kiggans Votes to Prevent Discrimination in Healthcare

Feb 07, 2024
Healthcare
Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (VA-02) voted for H.R. 485, the Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act. This bill bans Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) and other similar measures from being used in federal health care programs, removing a key tool with which these programs discriminate against people with disabilities. QALYs are a metric used, including by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), to assign a dollar value on someone’s life and ration healthcare treatment and services accordingly, often discriminating against those with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

“Government bureaucrats should not determine whether a person’s life is worth living,” said Congresswoman Kiggans. “As a primary care provider, I was proud to support this important piece of legislation to ensure that patients with disabilities, including veterans, can get the healthcare that they and their doctors believe is best for them. As our healthcare industry continues to face unprecedented challenges in Virginia and around the country, I will continue to support any and all efforts to ensure that quality, affordable care is available to all Americans.”

BACKGROUND

QALYs are a measure used by federal health payers, whether that’s Medicaid or the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, to put a dollar value on the life of a patient to decide if a certain treatment is cost-effective, oftentimes discounting an individual’s worth and need for care solely because of their disability or chronic illness. Currently, only Medicare is prohibited from using measures like QALYs.

Specifically, the Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act would: 

  • Applies Medicare’s current prohibition on using QALYS and similar discriminatory measures to ALL federal health care programs, like Medicaid and VA Health Care. 
    • Medicaid is the largest payer for people with disabilities, yet we are letting it use measures that discriminate against the people that it was designed to support. 
    • The VA, which millions of injured and disabled veterans rely on, is also allowed to use these types of metrics. 
  • Maintains the ability of these health care programs to use cost and utilization management, so long as the metrics driving coverage decisions are not discriminatory in nature.

You can read the bill text here.

###

Recent Posts


Jun 10, 2024
Press

Kiggans, Colleagues Work to Keep Shoreline Communities Safe

WASHINGTON, DC: Today, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (VA-02) announced she has joined Congressman Greg Murphy (NC-03) in introducing the Prevent Environmental Hazards Act, legislation that would expand the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to cover long-term erosion and advance collapse payments.  The Commonwealth of Virginia is regularly struck by hurricanes and tropical storms, with shoreline communities being deeply […]



Jun 5, 2024
Press

Kiggans Votes to Fully Fund Veteran Health Care, Improve Military Housing 

WASHINGTON, DC: Today, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (VA-02) released the below statement following the passage of H.R. 8580, the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2025, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 209-197. This legislation fully funds Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care programs and benefits and provides robust […]



May 24, 2024
Press

Kiggans Applauds Committee Passage of FY25 NDAA

Legislation includes historic quality of life investments WASHINGTON, DC: Today, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (VA-02) released the following statement applauding the passage of H.R. 8070, the Servicemember Quality of Life Improvement Act and National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2025 (FY25), out of the House Armed Services Committee. The legislation, which passed by an overwhelmingly […]