America’s Agenda & Kaiser-Permanente Are Pleased to Co-Host a Webinar

PLANNING FOR THE NEXT NORMAL AT WORK: Keeping your workforce healthy and safe throughout the pandemic

July 13, 1:30 – 3:00 PM EDT

As nationwide shelter-in-place restrictions lift and pause, making sense of inconsistent guidance from the federal leaders, agencies, states and local governments can be confusing for unions and employers who have health and safety of workers at top of mind. For this reason, America’s Agenda and Kaiser Permanente will co-host a seminar that will present the latest science-based information on managing return to work, operating safe workplaces, and supporting psychological health and social needs of workers in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.

Union leaders and staff, employers, Taft-Hartley trustees, health industry organizations, policy-makers, friends and guests of America’s Agenda are cordially invited to participate in this webinar on Planning for the Next Normal at Work.

Webinar presenters Deborah Friesen MD, MBA, FACP Physician Advisor, Customer Clinical Solutions and Kathryn Harrison, Director, Workforce Health Consulting Group at Kaiser-Permanente will provide the most current, science-based guidance on how to:

- Modify workplace safety plans, HR policies, and operational protocols for COVID-19

- Develop COVID-19 screening and safe return-to-work policies; learn how to handle specific COVID-19 workplace scenarios

- Build and reinforce a psychologically healthy workplace with self-care tools and clinical resources

- Support the social and economic needs of your employees and your communities; learn the impact of COVID-19 on social determinants of health

- Stay connected to regulatory and legislative guidance on reopening businesses and protecting employees

- Spotlight the worker safety needs of specific industries: manufacturing, education, grocery and essential retail, construction, first responders, transpiration, health care, hospitality

Participants will have opportunity to pose questions to the presenters during course of the webinar by audio and by a text CHAT feature. PLEASE JOIN US!

Please RSVP by sending email to Jess Belford at or call (202) 223-1584. We will send you instructions for login to the webinar.

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WASHINGTON (July 11, 2019) – Mark Blum, executive director of America’s Agenda, a non-profit health care coalition focused on assuring that every American has affordable access to high-quality health care, issued the following statement:

“The Trump Administration’s proposed rule to improve the rebate system in Medicare Part D would have been a first step in the right direction of making prescription medicines more affordable for working Americans. The Administration’s withdrawal of its proposed rule transfers the responsibility for leadership in addressing the role of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in driving prescription drug cost growth squarely onto state governments. State government leaders will need to accept that responsibility to reduce the strain on fiscal budgets and help their citizens better afford prescription medicines they need.

“Our opaque prescription drug pricing system passes the buck to working Americans who can least afford it. We need bold solutions that produce meaningful cost savings now. Fortunately, this is possible, and there are effective approaches that some states have already embraced. One example is the $1.6 billion in savings that the State of New Jersey achieved as a result of a competitive, technology-driven auction process for contracting with PBMs.

“If they have the political will, states have the tools, technologies, and know-how to return the value to patients and working families that PBMs are currently diverting into their own profits.

“For any governor or state policymaker looking to hold PBMs accountable, now is the time to lead. The window is open for states to step up, embrace a truly unique opportunity to save money for taxpayers, and put the interests of their citizens first.”


America's Agenda is a national health care alliance that brings together labor unions, businesses, health care providers, and government leaders who share a common commitment to our mission of winning guaranteed access to affordable, high quality health care for every American.


Emma Hurley Palmer

(805) 559-0122

State Legislators Direct the Prescription Drug Affordability Board to Study PBM “Reverse Auction” Recommended by America’s Agenda Chief Economist Mike Kapsa

ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 13, 2019) -- Over the course of this March and April, Maryland lawmakers crafted a bill intended to reign in the  states’s prescription drug spending.  In early April,  Center Maryland, a popular State political website, published a blog post by America’s Agenda Chief Economist Dr. Mike Kapsa titled “To Address Drug Costs, Annapolis Should Look North to Trenton.”  In it, Dr. Kapsa urged Maryland lawmakers to look to the example of New Jersey, the only state in America to actually achieve a major reduction of its pharmaceutical costs.  Maryland lawmakers took notice.

At the time Dr. Kapsa’s blog post was published, Maryland lawmakers were focusing their effort to control drug costs primarily on the idea of capping prescription medicine list prices.   By contrast, Dr. Kapsa, pointed out that New Jersey had created a competitive PBM marketplace or “reverse auction,” where “real price competition between PBMs effectively broke up the PBM cartel (something the Affordability Board in Maryland isn’t looking at.)”  He observed that, by forcing PBMs to bid against one another for the State's business over multiple bidding rounds in an eBay-like, online, reverse auction, New Jersey reaped “a fat $1.6 billion [or 18.5%] in savings for teachers and government workers, alone, without cutting their prescription drug benefits, at all.”

His message caught the attention of legislators – and many other Marylanders, too.  By the end of April, when the revised House Bill 768 was finally enacted into law, it directed its Prescription Drug Affordability Board to study “Using a reverse auction marketplace,”  alongside list price caps and bulk purchasing, as alternative strategies for lowering the cost of prescription drugs. 

The PBM reverse auction strategy was backed initially by New Jersey unions. Their leadership changed fundamentally the drug pricing game in their state, capturing unprecedented  prescription drug savings for New Jersey public workers and taxpayers.  Their example now stands to benefit Maryland workers and taxpayers, as well.

Check out Dr. Kapsa’s blog post.



Emma Hurley Palmer

(805) 559-0122

News and Updates

America's Agenda is a national health care alliance that brings together labor unions, businesses, healthcare providers, and policymakers who share a common commitment to our mission of assuring access to affordable, high quality healthcare
for every American.


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Washington, DC 20036



Copyright 2018.  America's Agenda: Health Care for All.