Rep. Wild Votes to Lower the Cost of Prescription Drugs
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Susan Wild (PA-07) voted to pass H.R.3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, through the House Committee on Education and Labor. Wild is a cosponsor of this bold legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs for all Americans by allowing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices for the highest-priced drugs, ending price gouging by pharmaceutical companies, and capping out-of-pocket costs for seniors.
“The days of putting profits over people must come to an end,” Wild said. “Just so we are clear: there is no justification for the outrageous drug prices that exist in the wealthiest nation in the world. One vial of insulin in America shouldn’t cost 10 times what it costs in Canada. People shouldn’t have to decide whether to pay for life-saving medication or to pay their mortgage or put food on the table. People are dying because our system has failed them, and we cannot let it continue. This legislation puts people’s health and well-being first, and I am proud to support this long-needed Congressional action.”
H.R. 3 makes major reforms to increase transparency, reduce drug prices, and limit out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries, participants in employer sponsored plans, and individuals enrolled in commercial health insurance. According to preliminary analyses conducted by the Congressional Budget Office and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the proposal would save $345 billion for Medicare Part D, alone. It would also save $46 billion in health care costs for private employers, and $55 billion for American workers over the next 10 years.
Last month, Wild called attention to the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs in the Greater Lehigh Valley in a House Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee hearing. In August, Wild endorsed the Pennsylvania Health Access Network’s principles for lowering the costs of prescription drugs in the Greater Lehigh Valley, shortly after a press conference held by Wild and Protect Our Care, where she heard from constituents and community health care advocates and released a report on the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs in the Greater Lehigh Valley. In May, Wild led a bipartisan amendment to stop the rising cost of premiums and, with the support of 78 Republicans, passed the House as a part H.R. 986, the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act.
Specifically, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019 would:
- Stop drug companies from ripping off Americans while charging other countries less for the exact same drugs. H.R. 3 will limit the maximum price manufacturers can charge for a negotiated drug to be in line with the average price in countries like the United States.
- Reverse and prevent unjustified price hikes by implementing an inflation rebate for Part B and D drugs. H.R. 3 will require drug manufacturers to provide a rebate to the American people for price increases for Part B and D drugs that exceed inflation, including increases that have occurred since 2016.
- Cap out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors. H.R. 3 will establish a $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Part D plans.
- Reinvest savings in health care for the American people. The savings achieved by H.R. 3 will be used to improve Medicare and will be reinvested in innovation and the search for new cures through NIH research.
- Empower the Health and Human Services (Secretary) to negotiate prices on as many as possible of the 250 most costly drugs every year.
- H.R. 3 will ensure that lower drug prices negotiated by the Secretary would be available not just Medicare beneficiaries, but also those with private insurance. This is particularly important for the more than 150 million Americans who are covered by employer sponsored insurance.