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Murphy Votes to Advance Historic Legislation to Lower Prescription Drug Costs

Committee also approves bills to expand Medicare to cover dental, vision, and hearing services for seniors, which would benefit the four million Floridians enrolled in the program

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Washington, October 22, 2019 | comments

WASHINGTON—U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Fla., voted to advance historic legislation out of the House Ways & Means Committee to lower the cost of prescription drugs for millions of Americans. The cornerstone of the bill, H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, would give Medicare the power to negotiate directly with drug companies for lower prescription drug prices, a proposal Murphy first introduced on behalf of House Democrats in July 2018 in a national address. The bill goes a step further and makes those lower Medicare negotiated prices available to Americans of all ages with private insurance while also establishing a $2,000 limit on the out-of-pocket costs that a Medicare beneficiary can be required to pay for their prescription drugs in a year. The Ways & Means Committee passed the bill 24 to 17 (with one voting present), and the full U.S. House must now consider the bill before sending it to the U.S. Senate.

“I’ve held more than 300 public events since taking office, and the number one concern I hear most often is the skyrocketing costs of health care, especially prescription drugs,” said Murphy. “It’s clear the current system is failing too many Americans, forcing them to take extreme measures like rationing their medicines or skipping doses. In the greatest country on earth, no person should have to question whether they will be able to afford life-saving or life-improving medicine. As Congress looks to pass major legislation to lower drug prices, I’ll keep fighting to ensure working families get much-needed relief from the rising costs of health care and prescription drugs.”

H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act:

  • Gives Medicare the power to negotiate directly with the drug companies and creates powerful new tools to force drug companies to the table to agree to real price reductions, while ensuring seniors never lose access to the prescriptions they need. 
  • Makes the lower drug prices negotiated by Medicare available to Americans with private insurance, not just Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Stops drug companies from ripping off Americans while charging other countries less for the same drugs, limiting the maximum price for any negotiated drug to be in line with the average price in countries like ours, where drug companies charge less for the same drugs.
  • Creates a new, $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries, and reverses years of unfair price hikes above inflation across thousands of drugs in Medicare. 
  • Reinvests in innovation and the search for new cures and treatments, using some of the savings from lowering drug prices to reinvest billions of dollars in the search for new breakthrough treatments and cures at NIH.

 

Separately, the Committee also approved Murphy-backed legislation to expand Medicare to cover dental, vision, and hearing services, which would benefit the four million Floridians enrolled in the program. This will ensure Medicare covers items like eyeglasses, dentures, and hearing aids. Finally, the Committee approved a bill to expand a federal initiative to train lower-income Americans to obtain jobs in the health care field. The bill includes a Murphy provision aimed at ensuring that military veterans fully and fairly benefit from these training programs.

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