July 25, 2019
On behalf of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare’s millions of members and supporters, I urge you to vote for the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act during the Committee on Finance’s mark-up of this bipartisan legislation. We support this important bill because it would contain prescription drug prices, premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and save billions of dollars for taxpayers.
High drug costs are burdening seniors and people with disabilities with excessive out-of-pocket expenses and straining the Medicare program’s finances. A recent study of 79 brand drugs without generic competition (and that accounted for the greatest spending on Medicare Part D) found that the U.S. pays 3 to 4 times more for these drugs than other countries do.
Medicare beneficiaries’ average out-of-pocket costs for certain brand name drugs rose by 40 percent between 2011 and 2015. Rampant drug manufacturer price gouging is clearly unsustainable and millions of Americans are demanding that Congress rein in drug costs in the Medicare program.
For that reason, we support provisions in the bill that will:
- Force pharmaceutical manufacturers to rebate Medicare if they raise their prices for drugs covered by Medicare Parts B and D faster than inflation.
- Establish an out-of-pocket spending limit for the first time in which Medicare beneficiaries would pay no more than $3,100 a year on drug costs.
- Save beneficiaries and taxpayers money by requiring Part D private insurers to pay 60 percent and, drug makers 20 percent, of the costs incurred over the out-of-pocket spending cap.
- Increase transparency into pharmacy benefit manager practices and manufacturer drug pricing decisions.
- Provide state Medicaid programs with more authority to contain drug prices.
While we applaud Chairman Charles Grassley and Ranking Member Ron Wyden for reaching a bipartisan consensus on prescription drug price reform, we support adding language to the bill that will finally allow the government to directly negotiate drug prices in Medicare.
All Americans should have access to affordable, quality health insurance. Nobody should have to choose between paying their bills for basic costs of living and taking their medication. The National Committee therefore urges you to vote yes on the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act during the Finance Committee’s mark-up of this needed legislation.
President and CEO