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Suozzi, Rice Vote to Pass Critical Legislation to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

December 12, 2019
Press Release
Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3) will allow government to negotiate drug prices and add dental, vision, and hearing benefits to Medicare

Today, Congressman Tom Suozzi (NY-03) and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (NY-04) voted to pass the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3). This vital piece of legislation fulfills important priorities for both Long Island members: lowering the cost of prescription drugs for their constituents and protecting seniors. The bill passed the House today and now moves to the Senate.

 

Suozzi, who also co-sponsored the bill and voted to pass it out of the House Ways and Means Committee, was able to include a provision that requires Medicare prescription drug plans to publicly disclose information about when beneficiaries are denied at the pharmacy counter. This information can then be incorporated into Star Rating System used by Medicare beneficiaries to choose the plans that are right for them.

 

“Americans on both sides of the aisle agree that drug prices are too high. President Trump has said time and again that drug companies are ripping off the American people and that we are subsidizing the lower prices for consumers in other countries. I urge him to follow through on his promise to implement real drug price relief. That means supporting the drug price negotiation in this bill,” said Congressman Suozzi. “The passage of H.R. 3 is a key step toward ensuring that the American people no longer pay almost four times more for prescription drugs than people in other countries.”

 

“I was proud to support this drug price negotiation bill that will help ensure Americans can afford the prescriptions they need,” said Congresswoman Rice. “This should not be a partisan issue. The soaring costs of prescription drugs are crippling families across the country regardless of their background or party affiliation. I urge my colleagues in the Senate and President Trump to support H.R. 3 so we can finally lower drugs costs and provide much-needed relief to American families.” 

 

H.R. 3 also implements a number of crucial reforms that will decrease costs for consumers and improve health outcomes, including:

 

  • Provides the Secretary of Health and Human Services with the authority, mandate, and tools to negotiate lower prices on up to 250 of the costliest drugs that do not have competition. These lower prices will apply to Medicare beneficiaries as well as those with private insurance
  • Creates a $2,000 annual cap on out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries
  • Prevents drug companies from raising their prices faster than the rate of inflation
  • Uses the approximately $500 billion in cost savings created by lower drug prices to:
    • Add comprehensive dental, vision, and hearing benefits to Medicare for the first time
    • Increase the number of seniors who qualify for financial assistance to pay for Medicare out-of-pocket costs
    • Invest an additional $10 billion to fight the opioid epidemic
    • Double investment in the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program in order to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity
    • Invest an additional $10 billion to support Community Health Centers, which provide vital services to almost 30 million Americans