Marshall, Lujan, Whitehouse and Wicker Introduce Bill to Streamline Access to Prescription Drugs

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced bipartisan legislation that would streamline access to prescription drugs that require a health plan’s approval. Known as prior authorization, physicians and other clinicians must go through mind-numbing administrative hurdles to get their patients the prescription medicine they need, including life-saving treatment. The current process causes delays in care and can sometimes result in irreversible harm.

“As a practicing physician, I have personally witnessed how prior authorization can negatively impact patients and contribute to the workforce burnout and the resulting shortage we now face,” Senator Marshall said. “This is not just my experience but a shared reality across all providers. That is why Congress must take meaningful steps to change the prior authorization process and cut out the hurdles that stand in the way of patients receiving the prescriptions they need. I’m honored to collaborate with Senators Lujan and Wicker to ensure working Americans receive timely access to their medications.”  

“Getting a prescription shouldn’t be a complicated process. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to reduce barriers to care to save doctors and patients valuable time,” Senator Luján said. “This will help address delays, allow patients to get their medications more efficiently, and save doctors time so they can spend more time with patients. It’s a win-win for patients and providers alike.”

“The current prior authorization process is time-consuming for physicians and health care workers, putting the focus on paperwork not the patients,” Senator Wicker said. “Our legislation would digitalize the process, saving providers time and speeding up the care patients need. It’s time for health systems to leave the age of the fax machine and step into the 21st century.”

“I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan Electronic Prior Authorization for Prescription Drugs Act to modernize our healthcare insurance systems in West Virginia and across the country,”  Senator Manchin said. “The current process for patients to obtain prior authorization limits physicians’ ability to provide their patients with timely care and the prescription medications they rely on, especially in rural communities. I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this commonsense legislation that will make our health system work better for both providers and patients.”

“No Rhode Islander should have their medical treatment delayed because of bureaucratic red tape created by insurance companies,” Senator Whitehouse said.  “Our bipartisan legislation will streamline the prior authorization process so that patients can get their prescriptions faster.”

This legislation comes on the heels of last week’s bipartisan Budget Committee hearing where panelists called on Congress to modernize prior authorization including e-prescribing and standardization.