Bill Includes Bennet-Backed Provisions to Lower Out-of-Pocket Costs, Medicare Premiums, and Federal Spending
Washington, D.C. – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement after voting for the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act of 2019 in committee:
“We’ve all heard the countless stories about how soaring prescription drug prices have put seniors in the impossible position of choosing between their medications and paying their bills,” said Bennet. “With this legislation, the Senate is finally acting to rein in drug prices, hold drug manufacturers accountable, and give seniors peace of mind. While today marks an important step forward, it is disappointing that we were unable to adopt an amendment that would allow Medicare to use their negotiating power to leverage lower drug prices.”
The Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act would:
- Protect seniors by capping out-of-pocket prescription drug costs in the Medicare program.
- Hold manufacturers accountable by requiring rebates if their drug prices increase faster than the rate of inflation.
- Increase transparency into practices of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) and prices set by manufacturers.
The committee adopted a bipartisan provision Bennet put forward that would enable Medicare to recoup money from drug companies that were paid for wasted medications, providing savings to seniors on Medicare and taxpayers.
The committee also adopted a bipartisan Bennet-led amendment to direct coordination between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in order to address challenges associated with covering the next generation of treatments and therapies so that seniors and Americans on Medicaid have access to affordable cures and breakthrough treatments.
Bennet has long fought to lower the rising cost of prescription drugs for Coloradans and all Americans. In April, Bennet joined a bipartisan group of senators in introducing the Ensuring Timely Access to Generics Act, which would lower drug prices by increasing competition through improved oversight of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) citizen petition process. He also authored the MODERN Labeling Act, which would authorize the FDA to modify outdated drug labels and allow more generic drugs to be available to consumers.
Bennet is also a leader in increasing transparency and lowering health costs. Earlier this year, Bennet and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced the Medicare-X Choice Act, legislation that would build on the Medicare framework to create a public insurance plan, allowing Americans to choose among existing private insurance plans or a public one and creating more competition in the marketplace. Medicare-X would also direct the federal government to negotiate drug prices. In March 2018, Bennet launched a bipartisan working group with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA). Recently, Bennet and Cassidy led the working group in introducing the STOP Surprise Medical Bills Act, legislation to protect patients from surprise medical bills and lower patients’ out-of-pocket costs.The Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act will now advance to the full Senate for consideration.