Rush, Roe, Chu, and Dunn Introduce USPSTF Transparency & Accountability Act

Jun 27, 2019
Press Release
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representatives Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), and Neal P. Dunn (R-Fla.) introduced H.R. 3534, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Transparency and Accountability Act.  This bipartisan legislation would require more transparent practices by the USPSTF.
Currently, the USPSTF (the Task Force) has little accountability.  Task Force members — who are appointed by the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) — do not meet with relevant stakeholders during their review process.  Additionally, medical specialists in the subject under review do not serve on the Task Force.  This leads to recommendations that are not based on the best evidence available.
This bill would reform the Task Force by requiring it to:
  1. Publish research plans to guide its review of scientific evidence relating to the effectiveness of preventive services;
  2. Make evidence-based reviews and recommendations available for public comment; and
  3. Convene a preventive services advisory board made up of patient groups, community-based providers, and specialty physicians to provide feedback on Task Force activities and recommend preventive services and scientific evidence for the Task Force to review.
“This important legislation will bring transparency and specialist input to the USPSTF’s current process.  It is critical that we make needed reforms to the process to ensure that the recommended preventive services are based on the best scientific evidence available,” said Rush.  “I am pleased to work with Representatives Roe, Chu, and Dunn on these changes to ensure that life-saving preventive services are accessible and affordable for patients.”
“As a physician, I know it doesn’t matter how statistically rare your disease is.  When you are diagnosed with a serious life-threatening illness, you want to know that there isn’t any more you could have done to prevent it.  Unfortunately, too often we have seen instances where the USPSTF has made recommendations that would have limited access preventive services and treatments.  It is time for a change.  That is why I am proud join my colleague Reps. Rush, Dunn and Chu in introducing the bipartisan USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act to delink insurance and the task force, as well as ensure transparent, affordable, accessible and life-saving preventive care is available to patients.  This legislation will ensure medical care decisions are made by a patient and their doctor,” said Roe. 
“Improving health care for Americans has been my priority since my first day in Congress, when we began consideration of the Affordable Care Act to guarantee accessibility for all Americans.  But while more Americans than ever can access health insurance, we want them to understand any changes made to than insurance.  For years, the US Preventative Services Task Force made recommendations that could affect insurance coverage, but with little transparency.  I’m glad to be supporting this effort to make evidence available to the public to increase transparency and trust in our health care system,” said Chu.
“It’s clear the USPSTF needs to be reformed and this legislation is an important first step in making that happen.  In medical school, you are taught to review all of the evidence before making an informed decision or recommendation.  Medical decisions need to be made by professionals, yet here we have the USPSTF arbitrarily publishing recommendations for medical care that are having very real negative impacts on patients across the country,” said Dunn.  “Increasing transparency and allowing medical professionals to play a part in how we diagnose and treat routine preventative services will save lives, which I think we can all agree is a good thing.”
The USPSTF was created in 1984 as a panel of experts tasked with making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services, and preventive medications.  Its role on patient care has changed in recent years because the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) linked its recommendations to insurance coverage.  As a result, the Task Force now determines which preventive services health plans must provide without enrollee cost sharing obligations.
The USPSTF Transparency & Accountability Act is endorsed by the American Association of Clinical Urologists, the American Urological Association, LUGPA, the Men’s Health Network, and ZERO: The End of Prostate Cancer.