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ACA at 10 Days of Action: Lower Prescription Drug Costs

By March 16, 2020No Comments

Ahead of the 10th anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on March 23, Protect Our Care is holding 10 days of action to raise awareness of the most critical components of the law which has improved the lives of millions of Americans. Working with partner organizations and health care advocates, Protect Our Care will highlight a different aspect of the law each day while making clear what’s at stake if the Trump administration is successful in overturning the law through the courts.  

“The Affordable Care Act has been an incredibly positive force for Americans over the last 10 years, especially in lowering prescription drug costs for millions,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “Over the course of these 10 days of action, Protect Our Care will remind Americans how the ACA has improved the lives of millions while making clear that President Trump and Republicans’ lawsuit to overturn the law poses an existential threat to Americans’ health care.” 

Days of Action: Day 3 of 10 focuses on Lower Prescription Drug Costs. To learn more about our days of action, visit our website.

The ACA Included Key Provisions To Help Reduce Drug Prices: 

  • GAINED: Rules that increase competition in the prescription drug market and help Americans access cheaper drugs. 
  • GAINED: Consumer protections that prohibit drug companies from paying off doctors behind closed doors to influence the drugs they prescribe to patients.
  • GAINED: Nearly 12 million seniors pay less for prescription drugs. 
  • GAINED: More than 60 million people gained access to birth control with no out-of-pocket fees. 

Overturning The ACA In Court Would Mean More Profits For Drug Companies And Higher Costs For Consumers: 

Consumers Could Be Forced To Pay More For Drugs. The ACA’s Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act paved the way for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve biosimilars, cheaper alternatives to expensive biologics. Without the ACA, approval of biosimilars will be in jeopardy, and drug companies may be less likely to invest in new biosimilar drugs. This change will make it harder for Americans to access low-cost alternatives to expensive biologic medications. It will also jeopardize the predicted $54 billion in savings that biosimilars are expected to produce between 2017 and 2026.

Drug Companies Would Once Again Be Allowed To Pay Doctors Behind Closed Doors (To Prescribe Drugs You Don’t Necessarily Need). Without the ACA’s Physician Payments Sunshine Act, Big Pharma will once again be allowed to make payments and offer gifts to doctors behind closed doors. When these payments are made with no transparency, they can create conflicts of interest and blur the line between objective and promotional research. The outcome of the Texas lawsuit has the potential to uproot the health care system all while giving drug companies even more power. 

Reopening The “Donut Hole” Would Make Medications More Expensive For 12 Million Seniors. If the entire ACA is overturned, seniors will have to pay more for prescription drugs because the Medicare “donut” hole will be reopened. From 2010 to 2016, “More than 11.8 million Medicare beneficiaries have received discounts over $26.8 billion on prescription drugs – an average of $2,272 per beneficiary,” according to a January 2017 Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services report

More Than 60 Million Could Lose Access To Birth Control With No Out-Of-Pocket Fees. The ACA guarantees that private health plans cover 18 methods of contraception and make them available to 62.4 million patients with no out-of-pocket costs. More than 99 percent of sexually-active women have used contraceptives at some point in their lifetimes, and approximately 60 percent of women of reproductive age currently use at least one birth control method. In addition to increasing access to this essential treatment, this ACA provision has saved money for women and their families: women saved $1.4 billion on birth control pills alone in 2013.