Rep. David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV) at PATA briefing

Simple Tasks recognizes congressional campaigns like David McKinley for their dedication to helping millions of patients in the U.S.

U.S. Representative David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV) is passionate about access to health care, and his legislative track record reflects both his personal and professional concerns.

Rep. McKinley suffers from significant hearing loss and is the grandfather of a child with special needs. He also helped care for his mother, who suffered from dementia and recognizes the challenges of patients living with life-threatening and chronic diseases.

While serving in the West Virginia legislature, Rep. McKinley authored a law preventing health insurance companies from cancelling the policies of patients diagnosed with HIV. When Rep. McKinley came to Washington to represent West Virginia’s First Congressional District, he brought his concern for patients with chronic diseases with him. Rep. McKinley introduced the Patients’ Access to Treatment Act (H.R. 1600). PATA, as the bill is known, would limit co-payment, co-insurance, or other cost-sharing requirements insurance companies impose on patients who rely on “specialty” medications, like biologics, to treat life-threatening and chronic diseases.

Those who suffer from rheumatic diseases can benefit greatly from biologic drugs, but when insurance companies move those drugs into “specialty” tiers, which often require patients to pay a percentage of the actual cost of the drugs, access to those drugs can become prohibitively expensive.

Biologic drugs have no inexpensive generic equivalents, so placing them in “specialty” tiers means patients are forced to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars each month or forgo crucial treatments. PATA would help insured patients afford necessary treatments and reduce disability and rising health care costs associated with rheumatic diseases and other conditions treated with specialty drugs, like multiple sclerosis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, hemophilia, and certain types of cancer.

“Placing drugs that have the potential to change the lives of the more than seven million Americans who suffer from rheumatic disease out of reach is shortsighted,” says Shelly Kafka, MD; ACR member and rheumatologist located in Clarksburg, West Virginia. “While biologic drugs may be expensive, their use can reduce long-term costs including additional emergency room visits, surgeries and permanent disability. PATA will help patients with rheumatic diseases and other chronic conditions lead fuller lives and Congressman McKinley wants to make sure that patients have access to therapies that have been proven to help.”

David B. McKinley

ACR President James R. O’Dell, MD and Rep. David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV)

While many issues in Washington split members of Congress along partisan lines, PATA has attracted broad support from both Republicans and Democrats. Twenty lawmakers representing both parties and a range of ideological views have signed on to cosponsor PATA.

“The bipartisan support PATA has garnered in the House shows that this issue is not a narrow, political one,” says Dr. Kafka. “The ability of patients to have access to potentially life-changing treatments is a vital issue, and we are glad the bill has attracted the broad support it deserves.”

As a member of the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee, to which PATA has been referred, Rep. McKinley has pledged to continue advocating for rheumatology professionals and those with rheumatic diseases. To learn more about Congressman McKinley visit his website.

The Simple Tasks campaign thanks Congressman McKinley for his leadership in introducing the Patients’ Access to Treatments Act.