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House Democrats

U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, Small Business for America’s Future and Protect Our Care Call For Bringing Down Drug Prices to Help Small Businesses

Call Conveyed the Devastating Impact of High Drug Costs on Small Businesses and Need For Giving Medicare the Power to Negotiate For Lower Drug Prices

Watch the Event Here

Washington, DC — Today, U.S. Representative Angie Craig (D-MN-02), Small Business for America’s Future Senior Advisor Kristi Martin, and Small Business for America’s Future Small Business Council Member and small business owner Candace Combs joined Protect Our Care for a virtual press conference to discuss how high drug prices are harming small businesses. During the call, Rep. Craig and advocates conveyed the urgency for legislation to bring down drug prices so small businesses can recover from the pandemic and thrive for years to come. 

The event followed a new report from Protect Our Care and Small Business for America’s Future published as part of Week 7 of Lower Rx Summer. In June, Protect Our Care announced Lower Rx Summer as part of The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices. Lower Rx Summer consists of themed weeks of action to illustrate the urgent need for legislation to lower drug prices principally by giving Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices for all Americans.

“We can address the high cost of prescription drugs – but only if we stand with Americans and small businesses instead of special interests in Washington,” said Representative Angie Craig (D-MN-02). “We must pass the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, to bring relief to small businesses and finally allow Medicare to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs for hardworking Americans.” 

“Rising prescription drug prices are a major concern for small business owners because higher prices lead to higher healthcare costs,” said Kristi Martin, Senior Advisor at Small Business for America’s Future. “In our most recent survey of over 1,000 small business owners, Small Business for America’s Future found that 55% said rising healthcare costs delayed growth opportunities for their business and 40% said they’ve had to increase prices of goods and services to keep pace with their rising healthcare costs. Without action to address these prescription drug prices, our small business recovery will continue to be held back.”

“I stand with the 85% of small business owners surveyed by Small Business for America’s Future who support allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies because I know the kind of difference it would make for my business and my employees,” said Candace Combs, Owner of Combs Business Consulting and In-Symmetry Spa and Small Business For America’s Future council member. “Small business owners are the backbone of the economy, but skyrocketing drug costs is keeping us from making the investments we need for the future. It is time our leaders had our backs and act to reign in the cost of medication.”

“The future of small businesses depends on bold action to bring down prescription drug prices,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “As drug companies hike the prices of lifesaving medications, small businesses are paying more and more for health care, forcing them to pass those costs along to workers and customers. It’s time to stand up to Big Pharma and finally give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices.” 

NEW REPORT: How High Drug Prices Hurt Hispanic and Latino People In the U.S.

Protect Our Care Releases New Report As Part of Lower Rx Summer

Today, Protect Our Care is releasing a new report as part of Week 6 of Lower Rx Summer underscoring how high drug costs hurt Latinos and Hispanic people. Throughout the week, Protect Our Care will host events and release additional research showing the urgency for reform to bring down drug prices for people of color. 

In June, Protect Our Care announced Lower Rx Summer as part of The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices. Lower Rx Summer consists of themed weeks of action to demonstrate the urgent need for legislation to lower drug prices principally by giving Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices for all Americans. 

Remaining Theme Weeks for Lower Rx Summer

Week 6 (July 12): How High Drug Prices Hurt People of Color

Week 7 (July 19): How High Drug Prices Hurt Small Businesses

Week 8 (July 26): How High Drug Prices Hurt Children

Week 9 (August 2): Expanding Medicare Benefits—Hearing, Vision, And Dental

Racial inequity is pervasive within the American health care system, and high prescription drug costs are no exception. Nearly 30 percent of individuals taking prescription medication struggle to afford the cost, with the burden most severely impacting those who make less than $40,000 a year and have medication costs over $100. These factors disproportionately impact Hispanic and Latino individuals, who are more likely to require medications for chronic health conditions and earn household median incomes nearly $20,000 less than non-Hispanic white counterparts, resulting in reduced ability to pay at the pharmacy counter. 

“Structural racism has led to Hispanic and Latino people being disproportionately burdened by high drug prices in the United States,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “It is unconscionable that millions of people can’t afford the drugs they need to survive. Bringing down the cost of drugs is an essential step in addressing racial inequities in health care and helping communities recover from the pandemic. It’s time for lawmakers to put an end to Big Pharma’s greed and give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices.”

In 2019, the House of Representatives passed the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), historic legislation that would lower drug prices for all Americans. H.R. 3 would save patients over $150 billion and reduce the price of the costliest drugs by as much as 55 percent

Not only does giving Medicare the power to negotiate help patients at the pharmacy counter, but it would save the federal government $500 billion, which could be reinvested to strengthen health care. These savings could help lower premiums, expand coverage, and strengthen Medicare benefits to include hearing, vision, and dental. As the nation recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, ensuring access to affordable health care, and specifically prescription drugs, has never been more critical. 

KEY POINTS

  • Income and health coverage inequity disproportionately harm Hispanic and Latino people. Hispanic and Latino individuals are more likely to have a lower median income and live in a state without Medicaid expansion, compared with their white counterparts. These disparities have profound impacts on health outcomes for Hispanic and Latino people that result in reduced ability to access lifesaving drugs with tragic results.
  • Hispanic and Latino people are regularly forced to navigate chronic health conditions with reduced access to needed drugs. Compounding social, economic, and political forces make Hispanic and Latino individuals more likely to suffer from ongoing health issues and be faced with outrageous medication prices. Inequitable drug access due to cost, creates additional medical problems that disproportionately impact Hispanic and Latino individuals. 
  • Drug pricing reform is crucial in addressing racial health disparities. Hispanic and Latino individuals are significantly more likely to be uninsured than their white counterparts, pushing up the cost of prescription drugs in a country that is already paying nearly three times what individuals in other countries are spending on the same drugs. Wealth and health disparities perpetuated by systemic racism increase the strain of drug costs for Hispanic and Latino people.

Read the new report on how high drug costs hurt Hispanic and Latino people here.

New Poll Shows Strong Support for Medicare Negotiation Across Key House Districts

76 Percent of Voters in Key Districts Support Giving Medicare the Power to Negotiate for Lower Drug Prices for All Americans

Washington, DC — A new PPP poll on behalf of Protect Our Care released today shows that voters in 10 key congressional districts whose representatives indicated in a recent letter that they may oppose the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3) overwhelmingly support giving Medicare the power to lower prescription drug prices for all Americans, and they reject the argument that Medicare negotiation would slow down innovation.

The districts surveyed were: Cardenas (CA-29), Correa (CA-46), Peters (CA-52), Murphy (FL-07), Mrvan (IN-01), Auchincloss (MA-4), Gottheimer (NJ-05), Rice (NY-4), Schrader (OR-05), and Strickland (WA-10). In response to the poll’s findings, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“This poll confirms what we already know to be true: drug prices in this country are out of control, and Americans are demanding change. Voters across the political spectrum want Medicare to have the power to negotiate for lower prices and are willing to make their elected officials pay at the ballot box if they fail to act. Voters also overwhelmingly reject Pharma’s big lie that giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices will harm innovation.” 

See the full PPP memo and toplines. 

Key Findings:

  • Voters of all political party affiliations agree that prescription drug prices are too high in this country: 88% of Democrats, 89% of independents, and 79% of Republicans think prices are too high.
  • A majority of Republicans (54%) and almost three-quarters (73%) of independents support giving Medicare negotiating power to lower drug prices, along with nearly all (90%) of Democrats.
  • Voters reject the argument that allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices would slow down innovation. Fewer than 1 in 10 voters support this argument. By a margin of 70% (77-7%), voters would rather “allow Medicare to negotiate with drug companies” than are concerned that it will “undercut drug companies’ ability to innovate and develop new drugs.”
  • Members of Congress risk losing support from voters of all political affiliations if they oppose allowing Medicare to have the power to negotiate for lower drug prices. A third (33%) of Republicans, almost half (45%) of independents, and 60% of Democrats say they would be less likely to vote for them.
  • A large majority (71% of all voters and 72% of voters over the age of 65) strongly support making sure Americans do not pay more for the same prescription drugs than people pay in other countries.
  • A further 70% of all voters and 75% of voters older than 65 strongly support using the savings from lower drug prices to provide hearing, dental, and vision coverage to people on Medicare as well as lower health insurance premiums for millions more.

NEW: Protect Our Care Announces “Lower Rx Summer” as Part of Its Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices

Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-06) and Leaders from AARP and Little Lobbyists Joined Protect Our Care To Announce Summer of Action to Reduce Drug Prices for All Americans

Lower Rx Summer Will Include Themed Weeks, Ad Campaigns, National and State Events and a Nationwide Tour in August

Watch the Event Here.

Washington D.C.– Today on a press call with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) , Nancy LeaMond of AARP, and Elena Hung of Little Lobbyists, Protect Our Care announced a “Lower Rx Summer” as part of The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices. Lower Rx Summer will consist of themed weeks of action to demonstrate the urgent need for legislation to lower drug prices principally by giving Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices for all Americans. 

In the coming months, President Biden and members of Congress have an unprecedented opportunity to finally take action to lower drug prices. 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, Rep. Pallone reintroduced this legislation, giving Congress another opportunity to lower prescription drug costs, and meet the demands of voters. Big Pharma has taken notice and is spending millions to spread lies about H.R. 3 and stop any meaningful reform. Protect Our Care will be reminding Americans just what’s at stake in the fight to bring down drug prices. 

Throughout the summer, Protect Our Care will hold virtual and in-person events with allies, advocates, storytellers and elected officials and release new reports to illustrate the devastating impact of high drug prices on American families. Lower Rx Summer will include research, paid and earned media, and grassroots and grasstops engagement. It will be capped off by a national tour in August. The effort will focus substantially on lifting up the stories of Americans of all walks of life struggling to afford the high cost of prescription drugs, and especially those suffering from life-altering diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.    

“We need to continue to raise awareness about the importance of passing H.R. 3 and the need to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs. Prescription drug prices are out of control, and it’s only getting worse,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06).  “Americans pay more than any other country in the world for the exact same medications. And even at the height of the pandemic and the global economic crisis, Big Pharma increased their prices on over 300 drugs in the United States at the beginning of the year. It’s time that we empower the federal government to negotiate fair prescription drug prices.”

“On behalf of AARP’s 38 million members and all older Americans, AARP is calling on Congress to pass comprehensive prescription drug reform,” said Nancy LeaMond, Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer at AARP. “Every day, we hear about the tough decisions older Americans face as drug prices continue to skyrocket. Medicare beneficiaries, on average, take between four and five prescription medications each month and have a median income of almost $30,000 a year. They simply can’t afford skyrocketing prescription drug prices. The time for action is now.”

“Many of our families rely on the innovation and development of life-saving medications to treat and sustain our children with complex medical needs and disabilities. Those medications, however, are only life-saving if the patient can afford them,” said Elena Hung, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Little Lobbyists. “Therefore, we call on Congress to give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices so our families can access the life-saving medications our children need to survive and thrive.” 

“Protect Our Care is embarking on this journey because millions of people are struggling to afford lifesaving medications. As drug companies are raking in record profits, Americans are facing impossible choices between affording medications and paying rent or putting food on the table. And despite everything this country has been through during the pandemic, Big Pharma recently hiked the prices of more than 1,000 medications — not because of any new innovation, but because they could,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “The time to put an end to Big Pharma’s greed is now. The momentum is with us: nine out of 10 Americans agree that Medicare should have the power to negotiate for lower drug prices for all Americans. Seniors, women, children, communities of color, and everyone purchasing prescription drugs stand to benefit from this policy. This summer, Protect Our Care will make sure people know which of their elected officials are supporting efforts to bring down drug prices, and which ones are committed to protecting Big Pharma’s profits.”

Later this month, Protect Our Care will launch digital ads in 13 target states: Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Themed Weeks for Lower Rx Summer

Week 1 (June 7): The Skyrocketing Price of Prescription Drugs

Week 2 (June 14): Pushing Back on Big Pharma’s Lies

Week 3 (June 21): How High Drug Prices Hurt Seniors

Week 4 (June 28): How High Drug Prices Hurt Women

Week 5 (July 5): How High Drug Prices Hurt People with Disabilities

Week 6 (July 12): How High Drug Prices Hurt People of Color

Week 7 (July 19): How High Drug Prices Hurt Small Businesses

Week 8 (July 26): How High Drug Prices Hurt Children

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.”

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

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.

Education and Labor Subcommittee Hearing Underscores Dire Need to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

Washington, DC — Today, the Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee held a hearing on legislation to lower the price of prescription drugs. During the hearing led by subcommittee Chair Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA-11), lawmakers discussed the urgency of passing the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), which would give power to Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower drug prices for all Americans. Democrats in the hearing made a strong and compelling case for giving Medicare the power to negotiate, and Republicans went to bat for Big Pharma which is enjoying record profits and is breaking records for the money it’s spending on K Street lobbyists to block any legislation to lower prices for patients. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“Today’s hearing once again makes clear Democrats are committed to lowering drug prices for American families while Republicans are hell-bent on protecting drug company profits. Americans pay three times more for drugs as people in other countries, forcing families to choose between lifesaving prescriptions and other necessities like groceries or rent. H.R. 3 will put an end to the rigged system that allows drug companies to raise the price of existing drugs like insulin year after year, and it will help families save thousands on the medications they need. As the country recovers from the COVID-19 economic and health crisis, American families cannot wait. The time to act is now.” 

BACKGROUND:

Democrats’ Drug Pricing Proposal Would Save Taxpayers Nearly $500 Billion Over The Next 10 Years. Analyses from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the CMS Office of the Actuary the bill confirmed it would reduce negotiated drug prices by as much as 55%– saving patients an estimated $158 billion over the next few years and decreasing deficits by $456 billion. 

H.R. 3 Could Save Patients Thousands Of Dollars On Costly Medications. The Center for American Progress calculated average savings for several drugs that would likely meet the criteria for negotiation under H.R. 3. In addition to achieving thousands of dollars in monthly savings on expensive treatments for conditions like cancer and multiple sclerosis, H.R. 3 would help lower the cost of insulin for some diabetics by more than $700 annually. 

Additional information on rising drug costs can be found here: The Time To Act Is Now: Lower Drug Prices For All Americans

House Democrats to Reintroduce Bill to Lower Drug Prices, Stand Up to Big Pharma

Washington, DC — According to reports, House Democrats will once again introduce historic legislation to lower prescription drug costs. The bill will give Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices so that every American can pay less for the drugs they need. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“This legislation addresses one of the biggest economic and health concerns Americans face — skyrocketing prescription drug prices. The single most effective way to lower drug prices is to give Medicare the power to negotiate on behalf of all Americans. Americans shouldn’t have to pay three times as much for drugs as people in other countries and shouldn’t have to choose between taking their medicine and buying their groceries. Republicans refused to even allow a vote on this bill on the Senate floor, but now with Democrats in charge of the Senate and the House, and Joe Biden in the White House, Americans can finally get relief from Pharma’s outrageous prices.”

BACKGROUND:

The Time To Act Is Now: Lower Drug Prices For All Americans

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Protect Our Care Mark the 11th Anniversary of ACA

ACA Provides Critical Health Care Protections, Is Invaluable Lifeline for Americans During the Pandemic

Watch the Event Here

Washington, DC — On the 11th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) joined Protect Our Care and a health care storyteller from Georgia for an online event about how the health care law has benefitted millions of Americans since its passage, and the work still needed to ensure all Americans have access to affordable, quality health care. During the event, speakers covered the historic nature of the ACA, its impact on Americans’ lives, and how the law is stronger than ever after the enhancements passed in the American Rescue Plan, which further expand coverage and lower costs.

“For eleven years, the landmark Affordable Care Act has expanded coverage, lowered costs and secured lifesaving protections for hard-working families,” said House Speaker Pelosi. “Today, the ACA stands as a great pillar of economic and health security for the American people, alongside Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Democrats will continue to work For The People to build on the Affordable Care Act to lower health costs and prescription drug prices for all Americans. On this anniversary, Democrats renew our commitment to strengthen and expand the ACA’s lifesaving protections – because quality, affordable health care must be a right, not a privilege, for all.”

“Today, on the 11th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, we can proudly say our health care law is better and stronger than ever!” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “The ACA has meant the difference between life and death for millions of people across the country. Because Democrats fought for this law, Americans can’t be denied coverage or dropped by their insurance company if they have a pre-existing condition. Democrats are building on the strong foundation of the ACA with the American Rescue Plan, which includes the most significant health care expansion in a decade, and we will continue working to ensure every American has access to quality, affordable health care.”

“Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer worked tirelessly to pass and protect the Affordable Care Act — and now the American Rescue Plan. Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan without a single Republican vote even though the law enjoys overwhelmingly bipartisan support among voters,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “The American Rescue Plan is the boldest expansion of health care in a decade and has historic provisions to reduce premiums for millions of Americans, including those who lost their jobs during the pandemic, and invest in addressing racial disparities in our health care system. The Affordable Care Act and the American Rescue Plan are changing people’s lives by making sure they can get the health care they need, and Protect Our Care looks forward to working with Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer to pass legislation that reduces prescription drug costs and further expands coverage.” 

“For the past 11 years, the ACA has been a tremendous lifeline for me because I’ve lived the last decade and then some with several pre-existing medical conditions that range across the spectrum of autoimmune illnesses, and President Biden signing the American Rescue Plan has given me new hope,” said Himali Patel, a Georgia small business owner negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. “With the American Rescue Plan, getting the coverage I need through the Affordable Care Act is going to be even less expensive than it was before. My premiums are going down to almost zero.”