Monthly Archives

May 2021

Protect Our Care, Elected Officials, Advocates Call for Congressional Action to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

U.S. Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH-17), Susan Wild (D-PA-07), and Chris Pappas (D-NH-01) Headlined Events in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire

This week, Protect Our Care hosted events featuring U.S. Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH-17), Susan Wild (D-PA-07), and Chris Pappas (D-NH-01) along with health care advocates to emphasize the impact of high prescription drug prices and to call for Congress to take action on this urgent issue. Advocates and lawmakers made clear the time to act is now to give Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices for all Americans. 

The events are part of The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices, Protect Our Care’s seven-figure campaign to demonstrate the urgent need for comprehensive legislation to lower drug prices. Protect Our Care will continue to host events both nationally and in 12 key states throughout the summer. 

Highlights and Coverage From Protect Our Care’s Events:

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 — Lower Rx Drug Costs Virtual Event with Rep. Chris Pappas and Advocates: Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH-01), Eva Castillo with New Hampshire Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees, Lucy C. Hodder, Director of Health Law and Policy at UNH School of Law, and advocates joined Protect Our Care New Hampshire for a virtual press conference to call on Congress to take action to lower prescription drug costs for Americans. For too long the system has been tilted in favor of big drug companies, not profits. Rep. Chris Pappas said that pandemic has exacerbated issues for NH families, but that COVID relief legislation, making coverage more affordable. “We need more progress in Congress to reduce drug prices, on an unsustainable path. We pay more than any nation in the world for drugs. Folks are rationing, and cannot afford medication.” You can watch the event here.

Coverage:

WMUR (ABC Manchester): NH Advocates Fight for Lower Drug Prices

OHIO

Thursday, May 26, 2021 — Lower Rx Drug Costs Virtual Event with Rep. Tim Ryan and Advocates: Congressman Tim Ryan and local advocates joined Protect Our Care Ohio for a virtual press conference to call on Congress to take action to lower prescription drug costs for Americans. “It is common sense that if Medicare has millions and millions of people accessing pharmaceuticals, that they would be allowed to negotiative the drug prices on behalf of our seniors. This is the single cleanest, clearest way to give relief,” said Congressman Tim Ryan. “It would also put money into the economy — if instead of going to the prescription drug industry and big pharma, those dollars got out into the local economy.” Advocate Lourdes Barroso de Padilla discussed how the high cost of prescription drugs makes it harder for her sister to manage her diabetes. “She got a letter from her insurance company saying they were no longer going to pay for her insulin. People are making decisions about their lives. This should not be a Republican or Democratic issue, this is a human rights issue. The cost of prescription drugs should not put a family in crisis.” You can watch the event here.

Coverage:
WKSU (NPR Kent): Tim Ryan Calls on Congress to Pass Legislation to Lower Drug Prices
WNWO (NBC Toledo): Rep. Tim Ryan, Ohioans Call for Legislative Action to Lower Drug Costs
WNWO (NBC Toledo): Rep. Tim Ryan and Advocates Discuss Urgent need to Lower Rx Drug Costs

PENNSYLVANIA

Thursday, May 27, 2021 — Lower Rx Drug Costs Virtual Event with Rep. Susan Wild, PA Health Access Network, and Advocates: Representative Susan Wild, the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, local patients, and health care advocates joined Protect Our Care Pennsylvania for a roundtable discussion to call on Congress to take action to lower prescription drug costs for Americans. As a result of high drug costs, Pennsylvanians are forced to make decisions that are making them sicker. In the last year, 1 in 5 Pennsylvanians left their prescription at a pharmacy, cut pills in half, or skipped doses of medication due to cost. Rep. Susan Wild heard from constituents across her district struggling to afford their prescriptions due to high costs. “From parents of kids with diabetes and people dealing with chronic illness to families devastated by the pandemic – the message is the same: protect our care and help make it more affordable. It’s time to make H.R. 3 the law of the land and provide needed relief to the millions of Pennsylvanians struggling under the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs,” Lee said. You can watch the event here.

PRESS CALL: Senator Casey and Governor Wolf Join Senator Baldwin and Governor Evers to Discuss How Medicaid Expansion Has Improved Access to Care in Pennsylvania

***MEDIA ADVISORY FOR FRIDAY, MAY 28 AT 10:30 AM ET // 9:30 AM CT***

PRESS CALL: Senator Casey and Governor Wolf Join Senator Baldwin and Governor Evers to Discuss How Medicaid Expansion Has Improved Access to Care in Pennsylvania

Senator Casey and Governor Wolf Will Highlight the Benefits of Medicaid Expansion in Pennsylvania

Senator Baldwin and Governor Evers Will Highlight the Damaging Consequences of Republican Opposition to Expansion

Philadelphia, PA — On Friday, May 28 at 10:30 AM ET, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) will join Governors Tom Wolf (D-PA) and Tony Evers (D-WI) for a virtual press conference to highlight the vital benefits of Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania, as a comparison to the 14 states, including Wisconsin, that have yet to expand Medicaid, despite new federal financial incentives in the American Rescue Plan.

Senator Casey and Governor Wolf will highlight how Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania has been a lifesaving program for many, including rural communities, communities of color, aging communities, and people with disabilities. Senator Baldwin and Governor Evers will then highlight what Wisconsin could gain from expanding the popular program, and describe how Republicans’ refusal to expand Medicaid is harming Wisconsinites. A new report from the Commonwealth Fund details the vast economic benefits of Medicaid expansion.

PRESS CALL:

WHO:
U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Governor Tom Wolf (D-PA)
Governor Tony Evers (D-WI)

WHAT: Press Call with Sen. Bob Casey, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Gov. Tom Wolf and Gov. Tony Evers to Contrast Lifesaving Medicaid Expansion in PA With Urgent Need for WI Republicans to Accept Expansion 

WHERE: Register for the Event Here

WHEN: Friday, May 28 at 10:30 AM ET // 9:30 AM CT

More Than 150 Lawmakers Ask President Biden: Give Medicare the Power To Negotiate for Lower Drug Prices And Use Savings to Expand Coverage

Washington, D.C. — More than 150 House Democrats signed a letter calling on the Biden administration to include prescription drug reform in the American Families Plan. Specifically, the lawmakers want to give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prices for all Americans and use those savings to expand and improve coverage for millions. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“Today’s letter shows once again there is overwhelming support in Congress, like there is across the country, for giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices. Empowering Medicare to negotiate is the single most effective way to lower drug prices for both patients and taxpayers. As it stands, Americans pay three times as much for drugs as people in other countries, forcing millions to choose between taking their medicine and buying their groceries or paying rent. There has never been a more critical time to bring down drug prices, and this letter makes clear that progressive and moderate lawmakers are committed to delivering on their promises to the American people. Last year, the House passed H.R. 3, and this letter is further indication they will do it again.”

THIS WEEK: Members of Congress and Health Care Storytellers Call for Congressional Action to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

***MEDIA ADVISORY FOR WEDNESDAY, MAY 26 AND THURSDAY, MAY 27, 2021***

THIS WEEK: Members of Congress and Health Care Storytellers Call for Congressional Action to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

Washington, DC — On Wednesday, May 26 and Thursday, May 27, U.S. Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH-17), Susan Wild (D-PA-07), and Chris Pappas (D-NH-01) along with health care advocates and storytellers will join Protect Our Care for events to emphasize the impact of high prescription drug prices and to call for Congress to take action on this urgent issue.

In 2019, House Democrats passed the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), bold legislation to give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug costs — the single most effective measure to bring down drug prices. In April, House Democrats reintroduced this legislation, giving Congress another opportunity to lower prescription drug costs and meet the demands of voters.

Protect Our Care recently launched The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices with an ad running on television nationally and digitally in 12 key states to demonstrate the urgent need for comprehensive legislation to lower drug prices.

WEDNESDAY

NEW HAMPSHIRE

WHO:
U.S. Representative Chris Pappas (D-NH-01)
Eva Castillo, New Hampshire Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees
Lucy C. Hodder, Director, Health Law and Policy UNH School of Law
Bruno Soares, health care advocate

WHAT: Virtual Press Conference

WHERE: Register for the Event Here

WHEN: Wednesday, May 26 at 11:00 AM ET

OHIO

WHO:
U.S. Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH-17)
Caylan Fazio, health care advocate
Lourdes Barroso de Padilla, advocate with personal and family story

WHAT: Virtual Press Conference

WHERE: Register for the Event Here

WHEN: Wednesday, May 26, at 3:00 PM ET

 

THURSDAY

PENNSYLVANIA

WHO:

U.S. Representative Susan Wild (D-PA-07)
Mitch Lenett, health care advocate
Jean Konz, health care advocate
Adriana Nunez Gutierrez, health care advocate

WHAT: Virtual Press Conference

WHERE: Register for the Event Here

WHEN: Thursday, May 27, at 4:30 PM ET

Prescription Drug Reform Must Include Medicare Negotiation

Nearly 9 in 10 Americans Support Giving Medicare the Power to Negotiate for Lower Drug Prices

Washington, D.C. — News reports have indicated that a small group of lawmakers in the House are walking back their commitment to giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices for all Americans. This comes as Big Pharma is breaking records for the money it’s spending on lobbyists to block any meaningful legislation to lower prices for patients. Meanwhile, President Biden reiterated his commitment to allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices just last month. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“It is outrageous that Medicare — the largest purchaser of prescription drugs in the country — is banned from negotiating prices on behalf of the American people. The ban on negotiation was put in place by Republicans at the behest of big drug companies to protect their profits, and now Democrats have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reverse course. No matter what other policies lawmakers support to lower drug costs, giving Medicare the power and the teeth to negotiate for lower drug prices is the key to getting the job done. Anything else is a sham. No policy could do more to meaningfully bring down drug prices. And despite Big Pharma’s PAC contributions and bogus claims, nearly 90 percent of Americans across the political spectrum support Medicare negotiations. The House passed H.R. 3 last year and the Speaker and House leaders have said they will do it again, and everyone who truly cares about lowering drug prices should be fighting for and not against H.R. 3.” 

BACKGROUND

Protect Our Care recently launched The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices with an ad running on television nationally and digitally in 12 key states to demonstrate the urgent need for comprehensive legislation to lower drug prices

Senate Confirms Health Care Champion Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to Head CMS in Bipartisan Vote

Washington, DC — Today, in a bipartisan vote, the Senate voted to confirm Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Brooks-LaSure has decades of health policy experience and will be the first African American woman to serve in the role. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“Chiquita Brooks-LaSure is a highly-qualified leader with the experience that will make her an outstanding CMS Administrator. She played a key role in drafting and implementing the Affordable Care Act. She is deeply committed to ensuring more Americans have affordable health care. Brooks-LaSure will hit the ground running to help fulfill President Biden’s mission of expanding coverage, lowering costs, and addressing the racial disparities that permeate our health care system. In selecting Brooks-LaSure to lead CMS, President Biden has made clear that meaningfully improving access to health care continues to be at the forefront of his administration’s priorities.” 

New Report Shows Far-Reaching Benefits Of Medicaid Expansion

More Than One Million People Would Gain Jobs if Remaining States Adopted Expansion. 

Yesterday, the Commonwealth Fund released a report detailing the vast economic benefits of Medicaid expansion. Thanks in part to the financial incentives under the American Rescue Plan, if the 14 remaining holdout states expand their Medicaid programs, more than one million people would gain jobs and states would receive a total of $49 billion in federal funding. According to the Commonwealth Fund, this would lead to stronger state economies: “If the 14 states expand Medicaid, from 2022 to 2025 state output will rise by more than $600 billion, state gross products will increase by $350 billion, and personal incomes will grow by $218 billion in these states.” Additionally, the report confirms that more than 6 million people would enroll in Medicaid coverage. Local coverage makes clear this deal is too good to pass up. 

COVERAGE:

(GA) The Augusta Chronicle: Study: Medicaid Expansion in Georgia Could Bring 64,000 Jobs. “If Georgia expanded Medicaid to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level, which is $30,305 a year for a family of three, the state would have a net gain of more than $3.5 billion in federal funding in 2022 and the state’s share of $374 million would be offset by $110 million in increased state and local tax revenue, according to the analysis. Part of that economic impact would come from 64,300 new jobs, about 22,000 in health care but others in industries that would benefit as that money ‘ripples through the rest of the economy,’ Ku said.” [Augusta Chronicle, 5/20/21

(FL) News Service of Florida: Report Points To Medicaid Expansion Benefits. “Florida could add 134,700 jobs, lower the number of uninsured residents by 852,000 and pump billions of additional federal dollars into the economy if it would expand Medicaid to low-income adults without children, according to a report released Thursday. The Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based organization that focuses on health-care issues, released the report, which said expanding Medicaid in Florida would add 61,600 health-care jobs from 2022 to 2025. It also said an expansion would lead to job increases in the construction, retail, finance and insurance sectors.” [News Service of Florida, 5/20/21

(MS) Magnolia State Live: Report: Mississippi Could Gain 21,700 Jobs Under Medicaid Expansion. “In Mississippi, of the 21,700 new jobs possibly created with Medicaid expansion, 12,500 of the jobs will be created in healthcare, 1,400 in construction, 2,600 in retail, 400 in finance and insurance and 4,900 in other sectors, according to the report, The Economic and Employment Effects of Medicaid Expansions Under the American Rescue Plan.” [Magnolia State Live, 5/20/21

House Oversight Committee Showcases AbbVie’s Abuse of America’s Broken Drug Pricing System

Washington, DC — Today, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing with AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez, investigating the drug company’s price gouging and anticompetitive practices. In 2003, AbbVie launched its signature arthritis drug, Humira, which has since become the best-selling drug in the world — raking in $21 billion in sales in 2019 alone. AbbVie has raised the price of Humira an astounding 27 times, most recently in January when it hiked its cost by 7.4 percent. During the hearing led by Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Democrats made a strong and compelling case for giving Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices for all Americans. Republicans, on the other hand, defended AbbVie’s abuse of the broken drug pricing system. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“We commend Chairwoman Maloney and House Democrats for holding AbbVie accountable in today’s hearing. Year after year, AbbVie hikes the prices of its most expensive medications, not because of any improvement to their drugs or increased cost of development — but just because they can. For far too long, too many Americans have been forced to skip their medications because companies like AbbVie care more about their profits than people’s health. The House Oversight Committee’s investigation lays bare the need for giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices, and particularly as the country recovers from the COVID-19 economic and health crisis, American families cannot wait.” 

Protect Our Care submitted a written statement for today’s hearing. Last week, Protect Our Care launched The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices with an ad running on television nationally and digitally in 12 key states to demonstrate the urgent need for comprehensive legislation to lower drug prices.

IN THE NEWS: Protect Our Care Launches Reduce Drug Prices Campaign

This week, Protect Our Care launched The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices, a significant seven-figure investment to demonstrate the urgent need for comprehensive legislation to lower drug prices. The campaign includes research, paid and earned media, and grassroots and grasstops engagement. At its core, it will showcase real people who are struggling to afford life-saving prescriptions and what skyrocketing drug prices mean for them and their families. Americans pay three times more for drugs as people in other countries, forcing millions to choose between lifesaving prescriptions and other basic necessities like buying groceries or paying rent.

Protect Our Care kicked off The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices with a national television ad that will also run digitally in 12 key states. The campaign will target Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.  

Read coverage of the campaign kickoff here:

Politico Pulse: FIRST IN PULSE: DEMOCRAT-ALIGNED GROUP LAUNCHES DRUG PRICING PUSH.

  • “Just as Pelosi begins to face resistance within her caucus, the health care advocacy group Protect Our Care will debut a national TV and digital ad campaign calling for the passage of drug price legislation like H.R. 3 (117). The seven-figure ad buy specifically advocates allowing Medicare to negotiate the cost of medicines — a measure that’s at the center of Pelosi’s drug bill.” [Politico, 5/12/21]

(FL) Florida Politics: Last Call for 5.12.21 — A Prime-Time Read of What’s Going Down in Florida Politics.

  • “Protect Our Care Florida says legislation to lower prescription drug costs is urgently needed, and it’s taking the message to the airwaves. The aptly titled “Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices” is backed by a seven-figure investment that will include research, paid and earned media, and grassroots and grasstops engagement. The campaign announcement said the ads will showcase the effects skyrocketing drug prices are having on real people and their families.” [Florida Politics, 5/12/21]

(NH) New Hampshire Union Leader: Granite Status: Dollars Fly as Congress Works Toward Drug Pricing Bill.

  • “Protect Our Care, a liberal advocacy group focused on health care, launched what it described as a “seven-figure effort” on Wednesday, unleashing ads and a campaign to engage activists in support of the drug-price negotiation bill. That group plans to focus its message on the problem of high drug prices, arguing the issue has support from Republican and Democratic voters.” [New Hampshire Union Leader, 5/12/21]

(NJ) Insider NJ: NEW: Protect Our Care New Jersey Launches Campaign on Dire Need To Lower Drug Prices With Digital Ads.

  • “Protect Our Care is kicking off The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices with a national television ad that underscores President Biden’s commitment to reducing drug prices and conveys the urgency for lawmakers to act now and give Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices. The ad will begin running on cable news channels this week.” [Insider NJ, 5/13/21]

(WI) WisPolitics.com: Protect Our Care: Launches Campaign on Dire Need To Lower Drug Prices With Digital Ads.

  • “The campaign follows recent polling released by Protect Our Care that found broad and deep support among voters for addressing skyrocketing prescription drug prices. Voters across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support Democrats’ proposal to give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices for all Americans — the single most effective way to bring down drug prices. Policies to reduce drug prices will help seniors, women, children, and communities of color.” [WisPolitics, 5/12/21]

NEW VIDEO: Protect Our Care Releases New Video With Patients Across the Country Calling for Action on Skyrocketing Drug Prices

Watch the Video Here

Washington, D.C. — As part of The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices, Protect Our Care released a new video featuring health care storytellers from across the country emphasizing the impact of high prescription drug prices and calling on Congress to take action on this urgent issue. Voters across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support Democrats’ proposal, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), which gives Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices for all Americans, not just those on Medicare. President Biden reaffirmed his commitment to giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices last month. 

Yesterday, Protect Our Care launched The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices, a significant seven-figure investment to demonstrate the urgent need for comprehensive legislation to lower drug prices.

“High drug prices hurt real people. Year after year, drug companies raise the price of existing drugs like insulin, with no reason other than that they can. Americans pay three times more for drugs as people in other countries, and millions are forced to choose between lifesaving prescriptions and other basic necessities like buying groceries or paying rent.” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “H.R. 3 would finally put an end to Big Pharma’s rigged system by including the single most effective way to lower drug prices: giving Medicare the power to negotiate on behalf of all Americans. As the nation recovers from the pandemic and economic crisis, there has never been a more critical time to provide real relief for American families and finally combat skyrocketing drug prices.”