Congress is taking action on prescription drug prices (Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester)

While “House Democrats are working to carry out our constitutional responsibility of holding the president accountable [by pursuing an impeachment inquiry], we are [also] working to tackle the problems that face our constituents every day.” And that includes delivering more affordable healthcare.

“Through our For the People Agenda, we further strengthened our nation’s healthcare system by building upon the Affordable Care Act.” The For the People Act, HR 1, which was passed by the House in March, is generally related to electoral voting issues. This may or may not be the bill here referred to.

“But we still have more work to do. “This week my colleagues and I have been back in our districts, speaking to our constituents about the latest and boldest part of our For the People agenda: H.R. 3, The Lower Drug Costs Now Act. Americans pay five, ten, sometimes 60 times more than others around the world pay for the same drug. Our House Democrats are putting the American people first and directly addressing a broken system [with a] dynamic approach to tackle our prescription drug system [that] will bring prices down for seniors, for Americans using the healthcare exchanges, and even for the 180 million Americans with employer-sponsored coverage.” According to this column, the bill would pay off in 4 ways:

•For the first time since the creation of the Medicare prescription drug program, the government will be allowed to negotiate the prescription drug prices for medications that millions of Americans rely on but find themselves increasingly unable to afford.

•Our plan will tie the prices Americans pay to the lower prices charged for the same drugs in other countries. Regardless of where Americans get their health[care] insurance, they will be able to benefit from those lower prices.

•Prescription drug companies will no longer be able to drastically hike up the price of drugs. If they do, they’ll pay a penalty.

•Seniors who are part of the Medicare prescription drug program will be protected with a cap on their out-of-pocket costs and the sky will no longer be the limit for how much they pay for their medicine.

•Finally, with the savings this bill generates, we can make critical reinvestments into innovation and new cures at the National Institutes of Health while also improving Medicare benefits.


H.R. 3 was introduced on Sept. 19 and currently has 37 co-sponsors (including Rep. Blunt Rochester).

Realistically, substantive legislation is unlikely to go anywhere until the impeachment inquiry runs its course – if then. The Democrats’ claim that they can pursue both goals at the same time seems unrealistic.

Also, H.R. 3 would effectively institute price controls for pharmaceuticals – despite ample experience that price controls harm consumers by drying up innovation and/or creating product shortages. Nancy Pelosi unveils 95% tax on prescription medicines, Ryan Ellis, Washington Examiner,
9/19/19.
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