Washington, DC — On Thursday, October 17, 2019, Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-04) spoke in the Ways and Means Committee hearing, “Investing in the U.S. Health System by lowering drug prices, reducing out-of-pocket costs, and improving Medicare benefits.” Congressman Horsford urged his colleagues in the Committee to support H.R. 3, also known as the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, and paid homage to Congressman Elijah Cummings, a lifelong champion of lowering prescription drug costs.
Transcript of remarks:
Mr. Chairman, thank you so much for hosting this historic hearing on H.R. 3 – the Lower Drug Costs Now Act. As a co-sponsor of this bill, I know that it takes bold action to level the playing field for patients and taxpayers.
Mr. Chairman — Elijah Cummings, in his 23 years in Congress, tirelessly led the fight to investigate escalating prescription drug prices in his role as Oversight Chairman. We would not be here today without his leadership. And we will carry on his legacy to hold big pharma accountable for the American people.
My top priority in Congress is to ensure Nevadans and all Americans can afford their prescription drugs and access all their health needs. That is why earlier this year, I introduced the SPIKE Act, a bill that would require transparency from drug manufacturers by making them publicly justify why they price gouge American families every day.
Additionally, just last week, I introduced the Capping Drugs Costs for Seniors Act, which would ensure that Medicare Part D beneficiaries would never have to pay more $2,000 out of their own pockets — saving Seniors an average of $3,100 every year. As we advance these proposals, ALL Americans will save considerably.
As discussed earlier in this hearing, the partial estimate provided by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows H.R. 3 would produce $345 billion in savings! That means that we will not only tackle exorbitant and growing drug prices and invest in new cures and innovation, but we will also use the savings to make investments to the Medicare program.
While Medicare helps millions of Seniors access health care, it has NEVER covered routine dental services, leaving many of the most vulnerable Americans without regular dental care. Nearly two-thirds of Americans with Medicare have no dental coverage at all and nearly half of older adults reported skipping dental exams due to cost. And we know that forgoing necessary dental care can result in poor oral health. which can increase the risk of a heart attack, stroke or diabetes. Without regular checkups, Seniors are susceptible to undetected gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancers, leaving our seniors defenseless to further health problems. Americans shouldn’t end up sicker just because they can’t afford to see a dentist.
That is why I joined my colleague, Congresswoman Robin Kelly in introducing the Medicare Dental Act, which will allow Medicare to invest H.R. 3’s savings on preventive dental and screening services such as tooth extractions, oral disease management, root canals, and even coverage for dentures.
In my district, there are 87,000 people enrolled in Medicare Part D and 471,000 people enrolled in private health insurance – all of whom stand to benefit from the proposals discussed in this committee today. I speak for them not big pharma that last year made an estimated $400 billion in profit. Drug manufacturers are granted a license to sell prescriptions by the federal government. That license should not be a death sentence for patients who can’t afford to buy their drugs.
For Nevadans and All Americans, I urge this Committee and this Congress to act swiftly to pass H.R. 3!