Scott, Finance Committee Republicans Urge Against Use of Discriminatory Metrics in Federal Health Programs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.)  joined his Senate Finance Committee Republican colleagues in urging senior government health officials against the potential use of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) or other similar discriminatory metrics in federal health programs, including the new drug price-setting program under the partisan Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).  

In a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Committee members highlighted the strong criticisms that QALYs and similar metrics have drawn from patient groups and disability rights advocates.  The senators called for the agencies to eliminate the use of QALYs and other similar metrics in federal programs, including in the implementation of the IRA’s price-setting program.   

“As longtime advocates for individuals with disabilities, along with older Americans, we write to express serious concerns with the growing use of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and other discriminatory value assessment metrics, including in the context of federal health care programs. While recent decades have seen countless life-saving and life-enhancing advances in treatments and cures for conditions affecting vulnerable communities and seniors, the rise in QALYs risks reversing these trends, particularly as the government bureaucracy plays an increasing role in cost-effectiveness analyses for new medications under the partisan Inflation Reduction Act (IRA),” the senators wrote.

The members requested for the agencies to:

  • Provide specific steps and plans they have taken, or intend to take, in order to prohibit discriminatory metrics; and
  • Release information on avenues for direct patient and caregiver engagement in the IRA’s price-setting process.   

Joining Senator Scott in signing the letter were Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

Read the full letter here.