Sarbanes Demands Swift Congressional Action to Lower Prescription Drug Prices [Video]
WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a House Health Subcommittee hearing today, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) urged Congress to swiftly pass H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, a landmark bill to reduce prescription drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies and enabling Medicare beneficiaries and Americans with private insurance to pay less for critical, life-saving medicine.
H.R. 3 will also set a new $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for seniors and will expand Medicare benefits to cover dental, hearing and vision for the first time in the program’s history.
“Before his passing in 2019, Chairman Cummings, who represented Baltimore, as I do, and for whom this critical legislation is named … worked tirelessly to uncover why the prices of life-saving drugs were so high that people simply could not afford them,” said Congressman Sarbanes, Vice Chair of the House Health Subcommittee. “I continue to hear these stories today, from Maryland constituents, as to how the high prices of prescription drugs forces them to make impossible choices, endangering their health and their lives.”
Sarbanes continued: “And all of this is happening while drug companies continue to rake in these incredible profits. Between 2011 and 2016, we know that list prices went up 129 percent for 14 of the top-selling drugs – top-selling because they are so critical for people out there. At the same time, out-of-pocket spending by patients increased by 85 percent for specialty medicines and by 42 percent for non-specialty drugs, even after taking inflation into account. This is just plain wrong.”
Sarbanes added: “[According to the CBO] … H.R. 3 will lower federal spending by $456 billion – that’s incredible – while also saving Medicare $42 billion on other health expenses, simply because beneficiaries will be able to fill the prescriptions that will keep them healthy. Let me just emphasize that: Because patients will be able to get prescription drugs that they cannot get right now, they will be healthier – and Medicare will save $42 billion on health care costs.”
See below for a video of the Congressman’s remarks.