Democrats in Congress are focused on more than impeachment. On Thursday, members of the House of Representatives will be voting on H.R. 3 which is a major piece of legislation to lower prescription drug costs for seniors on Medicare as well as private insurance holders.
Key provisions of the Lower Drug Costs Now Act include giving Medicare the power to negotiate directly with drug companies on the price of prescription drugs and make the same prices available to private insurance customers. It will create a $2,000 cap on out of pocket prescription costs for Medicare beneficiaries (currently there isn’t one) and prevent the drug companies from charging other countries less for their drugs than Americans pay.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates a savings of $500,000 billion over 10 years, and that money will be re-invested on expanding access to dental, hearing and vision services for seniors. There will also be increased investment in biomedical research to find new cures and treatments, invest in modernization and oversight by the Federal Drug Administration, direct funds towards the national opioid crisis and increased investment in Community Health Centers.
On a press call, Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-4) and Congresswoman Susie Lee (NV-3) emphasized how this bill will help Nevadans. Horsford said there are 90,000 constituents in District 4 who are on Medicare, and about half of his district are in private health plans. Horsford said countless people have stopped him and told stories about how they have to make decisions on whether to buy prescription drugs instead of other critical expenses, that there is nothing partisan about this issue. People don’t identify themselves to him as Democrats or Republicans, they just talk about how to afford their chronic health conditions.
Congresswoman Susie Lee (NV-3) said she ran on a campaign promise to lower prescription drug costs, that there are 96,000 constituents in District 3 on Medicare Part D and 625,000 in private insurance plans. She has received more than 1,200 letters and phone calls on the issue of prescription drug prices alone. Lee emphasized this is an issue of life and death and she is encouraging her colleagues to vote for this bill and deliver the promise they made to the American people.
H.R. 3 is the work of the committees of Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and Labor as well as Oversight and Government Reform.
Assistance House Speaker, Ben Ray Lujan (NM-3) addressed concerns about amendments to H.R. 3. He pointed out that the Democratic Caucus is broad and diverse and each person comes to Congress with their own lens. But, he said, they all agree that the cost of prescription drugs is bankrupting the country. Lujan remains confident that H.R. 3 will pass when it goes up for a vote on Thursday.
Here is a summary of H.R. 3. Go to bottom of page to scroll through document.H.R. 3 Summary with Investments in Medicare & Public Health