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Pascrell Supports Landmark Lower Prescription Drug Pricing

Rx legislation co-sponsored by Pascrell clears House 230 to 192

Washington, D.C., December 12, 2019

Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), New Jersey’s only member of the House Ways and Means Committee which oversees the Medicare program, voted in favor of H.R.3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. The milestone legislation permits Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices. In October, during the Ways and Means Committee approval of the measure, Pascrell sponsored the amendment renaming the legislation after the late Elijah Cummings in honor of Cummings’ tireless work to lower drug costs for the American people.

“At the start of this new Congress, we vowed to take decisive action to provide lower drug costs to the American people. Our action today is a landmark measure for patients nationwide,” said Rep. Pascrell, a longtime advocate for congressional action on high drug prices. “At long last Medicare will be allowed to negotiate fairer drug prices for American families. After years of being squeezed dry just to stay healthy, Medicare beneficiaries, our seniors, will save $158 billion in lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs. We are acting with a heavy heart and deep resolve in the name of my friend Chairman Elijah Cummings, whose abiding commitment to lower drug costs makes it all too fitting that this bill bear his law. We honor Elijah by approving legislation that will have a revolutionary impact in patient comfort and save countless lives.”

Last night, Rep. Pascrell took to the House floor to rally support for H.R. 3. In the same markup session in which Rep. Pascrell’s amendment successfully renamed H.R. 3 after the late Chairman Cummings, Pascrell also supported key measures to assist low-income Americans in their pursuit of health-related careers and to add visionhearing, and dental coverage to Medicare. H.R. 3 also caps out-of-pocket costs on prescription drugs for Part D beneficiaries, protects Medicare beneficiaries who buy supplemental Medigap policies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions or health status, provides enhanced funding for Community Health Centers, and invests in combatting the opioid crisis by investing $10 billion over ten years for treatment, prevention, workforce, and children who have been impacted. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, H.R. 3 will save American taxpayers nearly half a trillion dollars over the next ten years.

Despite Donald Trump’s empty promises to address prescription drug pricing, Rep. Pascrell is committed to effectuating real change for seniors and people living with rare diseases, cancers, and other conditions. In May, Rep. Pascrell voted in favor of H.R.1503 and H.R.1520, two bills that will improve transparency for prescription drug pricing. He also blasted the Trump government’s habitual lying on the issue of drug pricing, stating “this administration's stock in trade is breaking promises,” and urged the then-Republican Majority to confront the issue in a bipartisan manner.

H.R. 3 has been endorsed by several prominent advocacy organizations, including AARP, the Alliance for Retired Americans, the Catholic Health Association of the United States, the Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, the AFL-CIO, SEIU, United Auto Workers, Medicare Rights Center, Voices for Progress, and Patients for Affordable Drugs Now.

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