The 340B program has grown significantly since it was first enacted in the 1990s. With the sizable growth, and an Administration with a key campaign promise to lower drug costs, a new spotlight has recently fallen on the 340B program. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about the program, its function and its benefit to the communities served by healthcare providers who are able to participate. So, let’s take a look at the facts and the unrecognized impacts if the program were to go away.
Why preserve the 340B program?
One big reason for 340B program preservation is to protect overall patient care. The 340B program was designed with patient care in mind, and that mission has not changed despite false claims that interest groups are spreading on Capitol Hill. In fact, in 2015, 340B-eligible providers saved a total of $6.1 billion allowing them to provide 60% of all unreimbursed and uncompensated care in the U.S.1 Any proposal of eliminating the program threatens the level of reliable patient care for our most vulnerable patients one should expect.
A false narrative that is circulating Capitol Hill is the belief that 340B savings should only go directly to offset drug costs for uninsured patients. Congress’ intention was explicit and clear when it created the 340B program more than 25 years ago, to enable covered entities “to stretch scarce federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.” This could include anything from expanding access to drugs and treatment for patients to community outreach programs or even complimentary transportation to patients for medical appointments. These services are at risk of being eliminated if the 340B program is scaled back.
One of the biggest benefits of the 340B program is its high value at a low cost. Hospitals throughout the U.S. use 340B program savings to improve access to health services for underserved patients. Despite 340B being a federal program, these services are made possible without placing the financial burden on the American taxpayer.
What happens if the program is scaled back?
The 340B program is under attack on all sides. There are special interest groups spreading false narratives about the 340B program to prevent our nation’s safety-net providers from utilizing this program as Congress intended. Scaling back the 340B program would force hospitals to reduce or even eliminate critical services that are essential to the overall health of patients and their communities. Preserving the 340B program means the most vulnerable patients and communities can continue to rely on this safety net for their essential healthcare services.
How can you preserve the program?
PSG has developed a guide to support 340B advocacy and program preservation. Download it today and learn more about what steps you can take to become a 340B advocate.