House of Representatives Passes H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act
(Washington, D.C.) – Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 230 to 192. The legislation now awaits further action in the Senate.
“The rising cost of drug prices has created a growing undue burden on many Americans, particularly seniors. Reports indicate individuals have resorted to rationing doses, leaving prescriptions unfulfilled, and foregoing living expenses all to be able to afford often expensive, but essential and lifesaving medication. I was proud to support this bill, which will provide Americans with much needed relief on prescription drug prices,” said Congressman Sires.
H.R. 3 would reduce costly financial burdens for seniors by restructuring the Medicare Part D benefit and capping he annual out of pocket costs for prescription drugs at $2,000. Additionally, it would establish a rebate program for Medicare Part B and Part D drug prices that are raised above the rate of inflation. Finally, this bill would give the Secretary of Health and Human Services the flexibility needed to negotiate prices on certain drugs that are costly and lack competition for Medicare, while also making the negotiated prices available to the commercial market. This bill would also add benefits for Medicare recipients, by providing hearing, vision, and dental coverage for the first time, expand eligibility for financial support for low income beneficiaries, and invest in biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Furthermore, H.R. 3 would expand the Health Profession Opportunity Grant Program, increase investments in the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, invest in the drug development and review process at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), direct funds towards combatting the opioid crisis, and enhance funding for Community Health Centers.
“The availability of innovative and breakthrough drugs is of little use if patients cannot afford them. By passing this legislation, House Democrats have followed through on their promise to champion health care reform that improves access and affordability for our constituents.”