December 12, 2019
Washington, D.C. – Today, Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) voted to pass H.R.3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which will help bring down the cost of prescription drugs and level the playing field for American patients who are paying more for their medicines than patients in other countries. This bill gives Medicare the power to negotiate directly with drug companies, and the lower prices negotiated by Medicare will be transparent so that private insurance companies can make the same prices available to their consumers. It also creates a new $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries.
“All across America, families and seniors are paying more and more – or making decisions that harm their health – simply because the costs are too high and rising too quickly,” said Rep. Huffman. “I have heard from constituents and health providers about patients who are cutting pills in half or foregoing taking life-saving medicine altogether. Having to choose between life-saving medicine and versus meeting basic needs is unacceptable. We are following through on our promises to lower drug prices by passing the Lower Drug Costs Now Act.”
Earlier this year, Rep. Huffman hosted a roundtable discussion at Marin General Hospital’s Braden Diabetes Center about the rising cost of prescription drugs with health care advocates, medical professionals, and diabetes patients where they discussed a report detailing the rising prices of diabetes drugs, and assessing how those escalating costs are harming seniors and the uninsured in California’s second congressional district. 30.3 million Americans live with diabetes, including 3,088,741 people in California. Over the past decade, the price of insulin has increased 197 percent and Medicare Part D spending on insulin has increased 840 percent.
For the most commonly used insulin medications, California residents spend anywhere from $1,200 to $20,000 annually. H.R. 3 can lower the average total cost of the insulin NovoLOG Flexpen by 76% from about $19,800 to $4,800 per year. Under H.R. 3, California residents could spend 3.5 times less on insulin.
In California’s second congressional district, there are 123,016 people enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan and 498,057 people enrolled in private health insurance – all of whom stand to benefit from the passage of H.R. 3. For example, those living with cancer, arthritis, asthma, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis are expected to experience significant savings as a result of H.R.3:
- Patients living with breast cancer: In 2019, an estimated 27,700 women in California will be diagnosed with breast cancer. H.R.3 can lower the average total cost of the breast cancer medication Ibrance by 65%.
- Patients living with leukemia: In 2019, an estimated 6,030 people in California will be diagnosed with leukemia. H.R.3 can lower the average total cost of the leukemia medication Tasigna by 71%.
- Patients living with prostate cancer: In 2019, an estimated estimated 24,550 people in California will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. H.R.3 can lower the average total cost of the prostate cancer medication Zytiga by 66%.
- Patients with arthritis: 18.3% of California residents have arthritis, and H.R.3 can lower their total costs on most arthritis drugs from about $40,000 to $10,000 per year.
- Patients with asthma: About 7.9% or 2,398,304 California residents live with asthma, and H.R.3 can lower their total costs on most asthma drugs from about $1,400 to $270 per year.
- Patients with HIV/AIDS: In 2015, 4,495 California residents were diagnosed with HIV, and H.R.3 can lower their total costs on most HIV drugs from about $15,000 to $6,000 per year.
- Patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS): One million people are living with MS in the United States, and H.R.3 can lower their total costs on most MS drugs from about $40,000 to $13,000 per year.
In addition to lowering prescription drug prices, H.R.3 also reinvests savings into expanding Medicare to cover dental, vision, and hearing services for constituents in CA-02:
About 100% of beneficiaries (161,500 people) people stand to gain from adding a dental benefit.
About 83% of beneficiaries (133,900 people) stand to gain from adding a vision benefit.
About 99% of beneficiaries (159,800 people) people stand to gain from adding a hearing benefit.
Rep. Huffman has voted for five different bills to lower the cost of prescription drugs by promoting generic competition, all of which passed the U.S. House of Representatives this Congress. He is also an outspoken advocate for ambitious efforts to make health care more affordable, including Medicare for All.
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