Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04)
Navigating health care for individuals with a disability or a chronic illness can be difficult; the federal government should not create barriers or make it more difficult than it already is. This week, I voted to pass H.R. 485, the Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act of 2023. This legislation will take strides to expand access to lifesaving cures and prevents discrimination against Americans with disabilities by prohibiting the use of quality adjusted life years (QALYs) in all federal programs.
QALYs are a flawed measure used by federal health care programs, like Medicaid and the Department of Veterans Affairs, that put a dollar value on the life of patients to determine if a certain treatment is cost-effective or not. QALYs assign value to treatments for patients, intentionally devaluing treatments for disabled individuals and those with chronic illnesses for the purpose of determining if the treatment is cost-effective enough for the federal government to pay for.
Let me be clear: you cannot put a price on human life. The government should not be able to determine if someone’s life is worth living, or if a critical treatment is ‘worth it.’ H.R. 485 prohibits the use of QALYs and similar discriminatory measures to ALL federal health care programs. Any cost associated with the implementation of this policy will be offset by reducing funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund from Obama’s Affordable Care Act. I was proud to vote yes on this important legislation to protect Americans from medical discrimination and affirm that every person’s life has value.