February 6, 2024
The Honorable Michael Burgess, M.D.
U.S. House of Representatives
2161 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Representative Burgess:
On behalf of Flagship Pioneering, I am writing to commend your efforts to pass bipartisan legislation that would direct the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to consider in its legislative cost estimates the longer-term savings attributable to preventive health interventions. Specifically, we strongly support H.R. 766, The Preventive Health Savings Act, which will be considered by the House Committee on the Budget this week, and we urge all Committee Members to vote to approve the measure.
Flagship Pioneering is the leading innovator of novel bioplatforms and original bioplatform companies. Since its inception, Flagship has fostered the creation of more than 100 enterprises, including the original mRNA platform company Moderna, and has deployed approximately $7 billion in private capital to support hundreds of pre-clinical and clinical stage programs developing mainly first-in-class therapeutics and vaccines for serious and unmet medical conditions.
At Flagship, we are concerned that our healthcare system is, in fact, a sick care system. Studies have found that less than 5% of health resources are dedicated to keeping people healthy. While there are many reasons for this, we believe that the incentives across the system are largely skewed towards expensive, late-stage interventions, with far too little attention and resources paid to preempting disease before it takes hold within patients. CBO’s historical approach to assessing the costs and savings from healthcare-focused legislation often can perpetuate this harmful dichotomy, by focusing more on upfront expenditures than longer-term savings to payors, patients, and the broader healthcare system.
Fortunately, with advances in the biological and computational sciences, we now can envisage a world where scientific and technological progress free us from disease. Flagship’s scientists and entrepreneurs are investing their time, talent, and resources towards gaining a better understanding of the trajectory of disease at the cellular level, so that we can identify the earliest precursors or biomarkers of asymptomatic disease (what we call “predisease”), and then intervene to stop or even reverse that trajectory. Ultimately, we hope that such advances may be able to help maintain cellular homeostasis, and thus prevent cellular dysfunction and the trajectory towards disease from initiating at all.
H.R. 766, if enacted, will send a promising signal to biomedical researchers and innovators that focusing on prevention of disease and disease progression will no longer be negatively treated in assessments of legislative policy. While more must be done to transform our sick care system into a true healthcare system, H.R. 766 is an important foundational step in our collective ability to pursue this critical policy goal.
Tom DiLenge, Senior Partner Global Public Policy, Regulatory & Governmental Strategy Flagship Pioneering
cc: The Honorable Jodey Arrington, Chair, House of Representatives Committee on the Budget
The Honorable Brendan Boyle, Ranking Member, House of Representatives Committee on the Budget
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