Rep. Steven Horsford delivered remarks to the House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday encouraging lawmakers to “quickly” pass four pieces of legislation House leadership supports to lower prescription drug costs and improve Medicare benefits.
“Like everyone on this committee, I hear from folks in my district who are faced with the skyrocketing prices of their medications,” Horsford told committee colleagues during a mark-up session of the legislation. “They shouldn’t fear bankruptcy because pharmaceutical companies indiscriminately raise the price of life-saving drugs, with zero accountability or end in sight.”
The legislation would create an out-of-pocket prescription drug cap at $2,000, prevent pharmaceutical companies from hiking prescription drug costs, improve dental coverage for senior Medicaid patients, and expands grants for hospitals to educate and train low-income individuals for occupations in the healthcare field.
The prescription cap would save seniors about $3,100 per year, according to Horsford.
Earlier this month a report by the Ways and Means Committee found that U.S. drug prices are nearly four times higher than the combined average of 11 other similar countries, after analyzing 2018 pricing data of 79 drugs sold in various countries. The report noted that Americans pay as much as 67 times more than consumers in other nations for prescription drugs, even when accounting for rebates.
Horsford’s dental bill would allow seniors to opt-in to dental care in their Medicare plan. The Democratic representative said low-income seniors in Nevada have little support to assist with paying for even basic dental care.
In Nevada, more than 120,000 people would benefit from adding dental coverage to Medicare, said Horsford, adding that 42 percent of Nevada’s seniors have lost 6 or more teeth and 17 percent have lost at least one of their teeth.
“We have a great opportunity today to make a huge difference in the lives of all Americans,” Horsford said. “As the House acts to reduce the cost of prescription drugs for American families, we should invest these savings for seniors who need these vital health care services.”
A full vote in the House on the legislation is expected within a few weeks. Some Democrats have raised concerns that the legislation needs to be stronger.
Even if the House moves the legislation to the Senate, that Republican-controlled body under the leadership of Sen. Mitch McConnell has refused to consider dozens of pieces of legislation passed by the House. Horsford last month said he hoped that President Trump signaling a willingness to do something about prescription drug prices may help break Senate intransigence.