WASHINGTON: The American Association of Retired Person is reporting that The House of Representatives will vote on a bill that would lower the costs of prescription drugs for Medicare Part D enrollees by requiring the program to negotiate prices and cap out-of-pocket expenses. The vote is expected in December.
According to reporting, leadership is waiting to schedule a vote on the floor of HR 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019, until the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) completes its full analysis of the legislation.
According to reports, the act would save Medicare $345 billion over a decade, cutting costs for the drug program. A separate report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said patients in non-Medicare households would save $158 billion over that time.
AARP supports the bill and three other measures that have been advanced
The bill would use the money saved to extend some Medicare coverage for dental, vision and hearing care.
“AARP has long supported allowing Medicare to negotiate and use its bargaining power to get a better deal for beneficiaries — especially for the highest-priced drugs and for those drugs with little or no market competition,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer.
National RX Day of Action
As a part of AARP’s Stop Rx Greed campaign, the organization has declared Tuesday, Oct. 29, as a National Rx Day of Action. AARP officials and volunteers will be encouraging lawmakers across the country to pass the legislation to lower drug prices when it comes up for a vote next month.
“Patients in the United States, on average, pay four times as much as consumers in similar countries for the same prescriptions,” Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) said last week as his committee began considering the legislation. “All the while, drug companies continue to bring in tremendous profits. This is outrageous.”
The bill will cap out-of-pocket prescription drug expenses for Medicare Part D enrollees at $2,000 per year.
Lawmakers voted 24 to 17 to send HR 3 to the full House for a vote.
Last week the measure was approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Education and Labor Committee. House leaders have said they plan a vote on the bill in the coming weeks. In the Senate, the Finance Committee has approved a prescription drug bill that differs from the House measure.
“We urge the House of Representatives to pass this legislation that will help lower drug prices and out-of-pocket costs that older Americans are struggling to afford,” said LeaMond. “There is no reason Americans should be paying the highest drug prices in the world.”
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will negotiate the price of at least 35 medicines. Furthermore, HHS will need to negotiate the price of insulin. The cost of insulin has nearly doubled from 2012 to 2016.
Read More at AARP – House Vote on Prescription Drug Bill Expected in December