Kilmer Supports Lower Prescription Drug Costs

Thursday, Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) voted to support H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, to lower prescription drug prices and make investments in Medicare and public health. The bill, which was supported by 230 Members of the House, allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate to lower the price of drugs and caps annual out-of-pocket costs in Medicare Part D.

“I’ve spoken with far too many seniors and families in our region who are grappling with the high costs of prescription drugs. When you talk with someone who is having to skip doses or having to cut their pills in half because the costs are simply too high, it has a way of sticking with you,” said Rep. Kilmer. “That’s why I’ve been such a strong advocate for reducing drug prices – and I’m proud to support this bill – which aims to level the playing field for patients, ensuring they have access to less expensive medications and giving health and financial security to all Americans.”

Specifically, this bill:

  • Mandates the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate fair prices directly with drug companies for the most expensive and most common drugs used by Medicare enrollees. To deliver maximum savings for the greatest number of Americans, the price determined by the negotiation process would be available to all purchasers – not just Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Ensures that the global market pays its fair share for research and development, putting U.S. prescription drug prices on par with other countries where patients are often charged less for the same prescriptions.
  • Places a limit on out-of-pocket spending in Medicare Part D, ensuring Medicare beneficiaries pay no more than $2,000 per year out-of-pocket on their medications.
  • Reinvests savings to expand Medicare’s benefits to include dental, vision and hearing; drive innovation in the search for new cures and treatments, including research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and help combat the opioid crisis.

In addition to lowering prescription drug prices, H.R.3 also reinvests savings into expanding Medicare coverage for dental, vision, and hearing services for constituents in Washington’s Sixth Congressional District:

  • About 99% of beneficiaries or 165,800 people stand to gain from adding a dental benefit.
  • About 90% of beneficiaries or 151,100 people stand to gain from adding a vision benefit.
  • About 94% of beneficiaries or 157,900 people stand to gain from adding a hearing benefit.

The Lower Drug Costs Now Act is supported by a number of organizations advocating for the interests of American citizens, including:

AARP
“AARP, on behalf of its nearly 38 million members and all older Americans nationwide, supports your legislation, H.R. 3, the Lower Costs Now Act of 2019. We commend you for working to lower prescription drug prices and the out-of-pocket costs of individuals and families across the country. … AARP has been working to advance three key policy goals at the federal level: reducing drug prices, capping seniors’ out-of-pocket costs, and increasing competition. First, we are pleased that your legislation would take important steps to lower drug prices, including providing Medicare with the authority to negotiate the price of drugs. Medicare should be able to use its bargaining power to get a better deal for the 40 million Part D beneficiaries, especially for the highest-priced drugs and those drugs with little or no market competition.  … AARP has also advocated for an out-of-pocket cap for Medicare Part D that also protects the financial sustainability of the Medicare program, and we are pleased that this reform was included in H.R 3.”

Alliance for Retired Americans

“On behalf of the 4.4 million members of the Alliance for Retired Americans, I am writing to urge you to support H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. This historic legislation will help reduce drug spending under the Medicare program, lower out-of-pocket costs for all insured Americans, and expand Medicare benefits. … H.R. 3 will make a real difference in the lives of older Americans. It requires the Secretary of Human Services to negotiate lower drug prices for 250 of the most expensive drugs under Medicare, including insulin. The negotiated prices will extend to 180 million Americans receiving employer-provided health insurance. This is a win for all Americans.”

Patients for Affordable Drugs Now
“Early details of H.R. 3 clearly deliver on the promise to break the monopoly pricing power of drug corporations by allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription prices.  Importantly, the legislation incorporates key bipartisan priorities like an International Pricing Index, caps on price increases, and an out-of-pocket limit for prescription drug spending.  It will lower drug prices for all Americans covered by a government plan or private insurance.  H.R. 3 is a bold step forward.”