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Legislators Looking to Lower Prescription Costs, Improve Health Care

Dec 14, 2019
In The News


U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, last week voted to pass H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act — landmark legislation to strengthen the health and financial security of America’s seniors and families struggling under the weight of skyrocketing prescription drug prices.

Currently, U.S. drug prices are nearly four times higher on average than other developed nations. And for certain prescription drugs, Americans pay as much as 67 times more than consumers in other nations.

The Lower Drug Costs Now Act would give Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies to secure lower prices for Medicare beneficiaries and Americans with private insurance.

“The cost of prescription drugs has spiraled out of control, and it’s forcing many Americans to make difficult choices between paying for their medicine or other basic needs,” Cartwright said. “This landmark legislation will help reduce the financial strain that big drug companies’ price-gouging practices have inflicted upon millions of Pennsylvania families. The Lower Drug Costs Now Act is a momentous step towards making health care more affordable in our state.”

In Pennsylvania, there are 2.1 million people enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan and 7.4 million people enrolled in private health insurance — all of whom stand to benefit from the passage of the Lower Drug Costs Now Act.

The Lower Drug Costs Now Act would:

• Give Medicare the power to negotiate directly with the drug companies to bring down prices and create powerful new tools to bring drug companies to the table to agree to real price reductions.

• Make the lower drug prices negotiated by Medicare available to Americans with private insurance, in addition to Medicare beneficiaries.

• Create a new $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for people on Medicare.

• Save taxpayers approximately $500 billion over the next 10 years and reinvest those savings into:

— Expanding Medicare benefits to cover things like dental, vision and hearing.

— Combating the opioid epidemic, and

— Researching new cures and treatments.