For decades, America has led in medical innovation, producing lifesaving cures and treatments for the world’s most debilitating diseases. Unfortunately, these treatments have come at too high a cost, forcing many Americans to choose between providing for our families or purchasing medication. Even during these hyper-partisan times in Washington, addressing the high cost of prescription drugs must rise above partisan politics; the health of too many Americans is at risk.
Throughout my time in Congress, I’ve been a proven leader on advancing medical innovation. One of my earliest bills in Congress was the first-ever proposal to remove federal barriers to over-the-counter CBD oil for children and individuals suffering from severe epilepsy. I also voted to streamline the FDA permitting process and put real resources behind our medical innovators by voting for the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act, and I’ve introduced the TREAT PTSD Act to provide our Veterans and Soldiers access to a promising therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder/Injury.
Unfortunately, South Central Pennsylvania is still waiting on our government for an answer to rising drug prices, which is why I’m supporting bipartisan legislation to cut costs and continue American medical innovation.
H.R. 19, the Lower Costs, More Cures Act, makes real, substantive, and bipartisan changes to our prescription drug marketplace without sacrificing the development of new drugs. For the first time, H.R. 19 will lower out-of-pocket spending on prescription medication and offer patients predictability and transparency at the pharmacy counter. For our Seniors, this bill will limit out-of-pocket costs to $3,100 for the year and set the maximum price of insulin at $50 per month. Such caps will be immensely helpful to a population that often relies on fixed incomes to support their health.
The plan also improves transparency by requiring insurance companies to provide more cost information and expand online cost estimate tools. H.R. 19 puts the onus of transparency on the manufacturers by requiring reports on excessive price hikes, funding a study of pharmaceutical supply chain intermediaries, and increasing the amount of information disclosed to patients. When we have greater access to information, we can understand our alternatives and options and make an informed decision on what’s best for ourselves and our families.
Finally, unlike the Democrats’ constricting proposals, the Lower Costs, More Cures Act maintains competition and free trade for American companies, resulting in more cures and treatments for American patients. The Democrat alternative sets a maximum price for each new drug without factoring in the cost of development. If the manufacturers don’t accept this set price, they’d face an excise tax of up to 95 percent of sales – which is a dangerous disincentive for drug manufacturers who, on average, invest over $1 billion to bring a new drug to market, to develop the next lifesaving medication.
Experts estimate that the Democrats’ plan to lower prescription costs would result in up to 100 fewer lifesaving drugs over the next decade. One hundred fewer cures means that one-third of the total number of drugs expected to enter the U.S. drug market in the next ten years would never be developed. That could mean that Americans miss out on cures and treatments for cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, or one of the many chronic conditions our families and neighbors live with every day. This policy would be devastating.
Instead of reducing the number of cures and treatments available to Americans, H.R. 19 will support our medical innovation and expand low-cost options for patients by increasing competition and increasing the number generic alternatives on the market.
Too many Pennsylvanians have anxiously waited at a pharmacy, uncertain of how much their medication will cost, only to leave the register empty-handed because they couldn’t afford their prescriptions. Americans deserve better, which is why I’m supporting bipartisan solutions in Congress to lower the cost of prescription medication for all of us.
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