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House Bill Would Protect Disabled From Medical Discrimination

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The House of Representatives voted on legislation Wednesday that would send an important message to our nation’s most vulnerable. Lawmakers considered a bill that would prohibit the federal government’s use of a discriminatory metric that devalues individuals with disabilities. 

As the mother of a daughter with special needs, I’m grateful the House passed this important legislation this week, and I hope the Senate will follow suit in short order.

The bill is H.R. 485, the Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act. The legislation would prohibit all federal health programs from using the Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) metric, or any similar measure, to determine the cost or coverage of health care treatments.

The QALY cost-effectiveness metric values an additional year of life for a person with disabilities as less than an additional year of life for a person in “normal” health. In so doing, this metric discriminates against some of the most vulnerable in our society. The National Council on Disability, on which I have served, published a report indicating that “QALY-based programs have been found to violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

Yet many countries use the QALY metric to determine the cost-effectiveness of prescription drugs or other…



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