Sarbanes Votes to Strengthen America’s Health Care System and Lower Prescription Drug Costs

Passes Package of Bills That Will Reduce Drug Prices, Crack Down on Junk Insurance Plans, Protect People with Pre-Existing Conditions and Reverse the Trump Administration’s Efforts to Sabotage the American Health Care System
May 16, 2019
CONTACT: Daniel Jacobs
(202) 225-4016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today voted to pass the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act, a package of seven bills to lower the cost of prescription drugs, halt the sale of junk insurance plans, and prevent the Trump Administration from continuing to sabotage the American health care system.

“House Democrats continue to pass key reforms that will expand access to high-quality health care, protect people with pre-existing conditions and lower prescription drug costs,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “I was proud to join my colleagues today in getting this important piece of legislation over the finish line.”

The package includes three bills to reduce prescription drug prices by helping lower-priced generic drugs get to market more quickly. These bills include:

  • The CREATES Act: Brand-name drug manufacturers use tactics to prevent generic drug manufacturers from acquiring samples of brand-name drugs, which slows down the ability of generic manufacturers to develop more affordable alternatives and bring them to market. The CREATES ACT would prevent big pharmaceutical companies from engaging in these delay tactics by helping generic manufacturers obtain sufficient quantities of brand-name drug samples more quickly.
  • The Protecting Consumer Access to Generic Drugs Act: Brand-name drug manufacturers often enter into “pay-for-delay” agreements, where the brand-name manufacturer pays a generic manufacturer to delay bringing a generic equivalent to market, forcing American patients to pay more money for the higher-priced, brand-name drug. This bill makes these “pay-for-delay” agreements illegal.
  • The BLOCKING Act: Some generic manufacturers use “parking” tactics to block other generic manufacturers from producing the same drug. These tactics delay generic drugs from reaching the market by an average of 12 months. This bill changes the rules on “parking” and allows generics to get to market earlier.

The package also includes four bills to increase protections for people with pre-existing conditions and expand access to high-quality and affordable health insurance. These bills include:

  • The SAVE Act: This bipartisan bill provides $200 million to help states create their own state-based marketplaces. State-based marketplaces are outperforming the Federal marketplace, achieving lower premiums and higher enrollment. This bill empowers states to implement new approaches that lower costs and expand coverage for American families.
  • The ENROLL Act: This bill reverses efforts by the Trump Administration to slash funding for and undermine the Navigator program, which helps Americans enroll in insurance plans that best suit their individual health care needs. The bill restores Navigator funding and empowers Navigators across the country.
  • The MORE Health Education Act: This bill reverses the Trump Administration’s decision to slash funding – by 90 percent – for consumer outreach and enrollment education activities. It restores funding to these crucial programs that help connect Americans with affordable health plans.
  • Rescinding the Trump Administration’s Devastating Junk Plan Rule: This bill reinforces protections for people with pre-existing conditions by revoking the Trump Administration’s rule that promotes the sale of junk plans, which discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and do not cover essential benefits.

For more information about the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act, see here.