By Rep. Bob Latta
December 10, 2019
As the cost of prescription drugs continues to skyrocket from sea to shining sea, more and more Americans are finding that they can’t afford to fill their scripts. I’ve received hundreds of calls, emails, and letters from healthcare workers and patients alike about the high cost of the drugs they need. For many, these high costs mean having to choose between the drugs they need and other necessities like food, housing, and saving for the future.
I heard these concerns loud and clear.
As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I’ve worked with Republicans and Democrats on bipartisan solutions that would work to lower out of pocket costs and save more than $8 billion over the next ten years.
However, all of this bipartisan work to provide real relief for American families has gone for naught. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has capitulated to the far-left in her caucus and has decided to introduce her own partisan drug pricing plan that does far more harm than good. This holiday season, patients are hoping for lower drug prices, but that is far from what Speaker Pelosi is proposing.
Speaker Pelosi’s bill, H.R. 3, leads to fewer cures for patients who count on American innovation for hope. It was crafted behind closed doors without any Republican input. It incentivizes bullying manufacturers into government-mandated price controls that will severely hinder innovation. It is estimated to lead to 100 fewer lifesaving drugs from reaching the people who need them most. Speaker Pelosi’s decision to move forward on her extreme drug pricing legislation discredits the incredible bipartisan work we’ve accomplished that could deliver lower drug prices without harming innovation. H.R. 3 only further delays relief for millions of Americans as it is all for show and will never be signed into law.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 220,000 Ohioans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease, and more than 660,000 family and friends have changed their lives so they can provide them care.
What if we found a cure for Alzheimer’s, but due to politics, patients couldn’t access it?
We need to encourage the innovation of groundbreaking new cures to give hope to those facing sickness. We’ve got to stop putting politics over progress. Democrats need to stop playing political games because it is costing us lifesaving treatments – it is costing American lives.
That’s why we have a solution that lowers costs for patients and seniors without pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes.
H.R. 19, the Lower Costs, More Cures Act, uses bipartisan reforms to lower out of pocket spending, protect access to new medicines and cures, strengthen transparency, and champion competition.
Every single provision is bipartisan.
H.R. 19 recognizes that pharmacies need to be held to high-quality standards like other providers of health services under the Medicare Program. Those standards should be based on universally understood and endorsed measures such as meeting goals of generic substitution, which will save both seniors and the federal government money while providing needed oversight. This provision will help community pharmacists, particularly those in rural areas, bring stability and predictability to their businesses and understand the quality measures they need to meet.
Our plan doesn’t crush investment in the research and development of new cures. When confronted with the realities of what H.R. 3 would mean for fewer new drugs, some Democrats have said it is “worth it” to lose new cures in order pass their partisan plan.
But, when it comes to drugs that improve or save a loved one’s life, we know it is not “worth it.” Our bipartisan plan stands in stark contrast as it increases low-cost options for patients by bringing more generic and biosimilar competition to the marketplace faster. It puts politics to the side and prioritizes what Americans need most – more cures and better access to affordable medications.