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PBM Accountability Project Statement on Congressional Hearings with UnitedHealth Group CEO

Members of Congress Highlight Concerns Beyond Data Breach, Need for PBM Reforms

 

The Senate Finance Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held hearings on May 1 to investigate the recent cyberattack that compromised UnitedHealth Group (UHG) patient data. UHG CEO Andrew Witty testified before members who raised several concerns – most directly related to the breach, and others related to broader issues within the insurance industry.

 

Mark Blum, managing director of the PBM Accountability Project, issued the following statement:

 

“Data security is a top priority for patients, as is access to affordable prescription drugs. Unfortunately, we have seen time and time again that our nation’s biggest insurance companies – companies that are all vertically integrated with our nation’s largest PBMs – do not share these top priorities of America’s patients. Huge insurance company-PBM conglomerates like UHG continue to prioritize profits over patients. And America’s patients continue to lose. Congressional Committees like Senate Finance and House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations are right to pull the curtain back on how anti-competitive practices of healthcare insurance/PBM conglomerates are driving unprecedented profits at the expense of patient wellbeing from rapidly rising drug costs to breaches of personal medical data.

 

“We were encouraged to see congressional leaders like Senator Sherrod Brown (OH) and Rep. Buddy Carter (GA) ask critical questions about vertical integration and anti-competitive practices of the big three health insurance/PBM conglomerates, including UHG, that dominate the American medical and pharmaceutical markets. These elected leaders inquired about the security of personal healthcare data that is stored by these same insurance/PBM conglomerates, including UHG, that manage more than 80% of Americans’ personal pharmacy claims data – data that suffered a massive breach under the watch of a UHG subsidiary. The national understanding of what contributed to the Change Healthcare data security breach was advanced by congressional leaders who placed the security breach into the context of a marketplace that is dominated by giant, vertically integrated insurer/PBM bureaucracies that place profit over patient interests as they engage in predatory prescription drug pricing and leverage their market power to drive independent pharmacists out of business at alarming rates.

 

“Americans need the kind of leadership exhibited this week by Senator Brown, Representative Carter along with Representatives Larry Bucshon (IN), Kim Schrier (WA), John Joyce (PA), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA) and other members of the Senate Finance Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations who were willing to hold enormously wealthy and powerful executives of insurance/PBM conglomerates like UHG CEO Andrew Witty to account for delivering Americans a fair deal on the prescription medicines they need.”

 

 

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