House Votes to Ban Metric Used to Deny Care for People with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses

Washington, D.C. — Today, the House passed H.R. 485, the Protecting Care for All Patients Act, to ban federal health programs from using discriminatory measures known as Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) by a vote of 211 to 208. The legislation is led by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-MO), Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), and Rep. Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M. (R-OH).

"Every human life has value. The government should not be mercilessly placing a dollar value on someone’s life and denying care just because they have a disability or chronic illness. Patients, and those who are fighting for their loved ones’ lives, have pleaded with Congress to fix a system that actively prevents them from getting the care they need. I’m proud to champion this important legislation that will give patients with disabilities and chronic or rare illness hope,” said Chair Rodgers. 

“Bureaucrats in Washington and across the country are trying to put a price tag on life. The Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act, reaffirms that every life has value and stops individual Americans from being reduced to mere dollars and cents on a spreadsheet. An individual has worth, regardless of someone’s age or whether they have a disability or other chronic ailment,” said Chair Smith.

“All life has value. That is why it is imperative that our health care system upholds the fundamental principles of dignity and respect for every patient under our care,” said Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. “Assigning monetary worth to a person's life through metrics like 'QALY' undermines this core principle and obstructs physicians' ability to provide quality care to all individuals, particularly those with disabilities and chronic illnesses. I am thankful that the House did the right thing today and passed this legislation, and I urge swift passage in the senate.”

“As a physician, I believe it is vital that our health care system treats all patients with the dignity and respect they deserve. ‘QALY’ measurements put a dollar value on a person’s life and interfere with a physician’s ability to care for all of their patients by devaluing treatments for those who are disabled and chronically ill,” said Rep. Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M. “We should value human life—and work toward healthy human lives—not devalue human life nor indignify one another. I am proud the House voted to protect patients by passing this legislation today, and I hope that the Senate and White House will support this important bill.” 


H.R. 485 would prohibit the use of Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) and other similar discriminatory measures in all federal programs—an expansion from the current prohibition that only applies in a limited fashion to the Medicare program.  

QALYs devalue the life of people with a disability or those with chronic illnesses to determine whether the treatment is cost-effective enough to be paid for by the federal government. The use of QALYs is a clear form of discrimination.