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12.12.2019 / Press Release

Statement: Led by Speaker Pelosi, the House Passed Landmark Legislation for Reining in High Drug Prices. Will President Trump Stand with Our Nation’s Families and Ensure it Becomes Law?

Washington, D.C. – Families USA executive director Frederick Isasi released the following statement regarding the prescription drug bill passed today by the House of Representatives.

 “The passage of H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, is the most significant step Congress has taken to combat high prescription drug prices. For far too long, high drug prices have forced consumers to make drastic choices between their health care and basic needs. Almost a third of consumers can’t access prescription drugs simply because of cost. These individuals make the terrible choice of cutting their pills in half, skipping doses, or simply forging the medication altogether. And this problem is only getting worse; stories like that of Catherine Horine from Illinois, who spends exactly half of her monthly retirement on prescription drugs, are becoming the norm, rather than an anomaly.

With H.R. 3, Medicare would finally be empowered to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices on the pharmaceuticals that are bankrupting America’s families. And drug companies would no longer be able to raise prices on drugs year after year without any consequences. Very importantly, H.R. 3 also finally creates real protections for Medicare beneficiaries from high out-of-pocket costs for drugs by establishing an annual out-of-pocket cap. Lawmakers have made a promise to address families’ concerns about high drug prices and those who voted for H.R. 3 have kept that promise.

Now, America’s families are waiting and watching to see if President Trump will deliver on his many promises to address high prescription drug prices. Will the president put our nation’s families before the profits of drug companies? Will he work with Republican leaders in the Senate to ensure that this legislation is brought up and approved in the Senate? Will he sign it into law?

In protecting families from high drug prices, H.R. 3 also produces significant savings—nearly half a trillion dollars according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. We are pleased that these savings would be used to ensure Medicare provides coverage for oral health care. Two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries, including older adults and people with disabilities, do not have coverage for oral health.  Many are forced to pay out-of-pocket for costly and preventable oral health care needs. This new benefit will significantly improve their health and financial security.

Most importantly, H.R. 3 is what consumers are demanding—for the government to take action so they can afford their medicine and not have to bankrupt themselves in the process. Recent polling has shown that 95% support Medicare drug negotiation for drugs with no competition and 78% said that Medicare drug negotiation would reduce the price of drugs. It is incredibly disappointing to see only a couple of Republicans voted for this legislation despite its broad bipartisan support among voters. Are the members who voted against it completely out of touch with the families they represent? Have they completely caved to lobbyists from the drug companies?

We applaud Speaker Pelosi, House Democratic leadership, and the lawmakers who voted for H.R. 3 for passing legislation that will provide much-need relief to so many families. By preventing windfalls for big pharma, we can help ensure America’s families can finally access the medicines they need to get and stay healthy.”