Duluth, GA — Today, Representative Lucy McBath (D-GA) joined Representatives Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M. (R-OH), Representative Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA), Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR), and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), to reintroduce the Safe Step Act, a bipartisan bill to make sure patients are able to safely and efficiently access the best treatment available to them by improving step therapy protocols.

Currently, step therapy protocols, sometimes referred to as "fail first," cause unnecessary delays in care, or worse, require patients to try ineffective or potentially dangerous medications before finding the treatment most suited to their needs. The bipartisan Safe Step Act would provide guardrails by requiring insurance companies to have a clear and rapid process to allow coverage for the medication or treatment that is best for the patient.

“With the reintroduction of the Safe Step Act, we reaffirm the value of the doctor-patient relationship in medicine and move closer toward the best form of patient-centered care. Step therapy can cause undue harm and slow the recovery of patients, while frustrating doctors who are simply trying to care for their patients,” said McBath. “We must always fight to put people first, and this legislation will help ensure doctors and patients can make the best possible health care decisions.”

“As a physician, I spend time with my patients, working through a care plan after a thorough examination and review of their personal medical history. Under the current system, many insurers are requiring patients to 'fail first' on other medications before they can receive the medication their physician originally prescribed,” said Dr. Wenstrup. “Spending precious time and money on multiple alternative treatments can be very dangerous for patients and leads to delays in treatment and additional costs for our health care system. This bipartisan bill creates guardrails to ensure patients receive common sense protections and doctors can assure that they ‘do no harm,’ and I'm proud to reintroduce it with my friend and fellow physician, Dr. Raul Ruiz.” 

“As a physician, I took an oath to put patients first. The Safe Step Act does exactly that,” said Dr. Ruiz. “It is not safe or fair for patients to be forced to use medications that don't work for them simply because of insurance companies' protocols that do not take the patient's unique health needs into account. These delays can cause unnecessary pain, suffering, and cost for patients. My bill will help patients get the medicine they need to live healthy, productive lives. I was pleased to work across the aisle and chambers to develop a patient-centered approach to step therapy protocols that puts the health of Americans over insurance companies' bottom lines.”

A companion bill was introduced in the Senate.