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Big Pharma’s Relentless Greed Revealed in Record Lobbying Totals

PhRMA Spent $29.6 Million on Lobbying in 2021 as Democrats Worked to Pass Build Back Better Act

Washington, DC — Yesterday, federal disclosures revealed that the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) spent nearly $29.6 million on lobbying in 2021 – an all time record. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“Last year’s record lobbying spending from Big Pharma only confirms that drug companies will stop at nothing to protect their profits and keep prices high for patients.  Let’s be clear: drug companies would rather gauge patients and pad their profits than do the right thing. PhRMA and their Republican allies object to the most common sense measures to reduce drug prices: giving Medicare the power to negotiate, limiting insulin prices for diabetics, capping out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors, and banning excessive price hikes on existing drugs. These corporate lobbyists know that their grip on power is waning as President Biden and Democrats in Congress are committed to delivering relief to the American people. This display of outright greed only confirms the urgent need to pass the Build Back Better’s measures to lower prescription drug prices once and for all.”

Joe Biden, Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema and the American People All Agree: Reducing Health Care Costs is Critical for Working Families

Health Care Provisions in Build Back Better Will Meet the Demands of the American People and Achieve President Biden’s Goal to Lower Costs for American Families 

President Biden made clear at his press conference that his Build Back Better Act is the most effective way to “address the biggest costs that working families face every day.” Democrats in Congress – including Senators Manchin and Sinema – and the American people agree that reducing health care costs is a top priority. The Build Back Better not only lowers drug prices by ending the status quo where drug companies get to dictate prices, but also extends coverage to millions by closing the Medicaid coverage gap and drives down premium costs for people like small business owners and farmers purchasing insurance on their own. These are kitchen table issues that bring people of all parties together.

Reducing Health Care Costs Is A Top Priority For President Biden 

“My Build Back Better plan will address the biggest costs that working families face every day.  No other plan will do more to lower the costs for American families…My Build Back Better plan cuts the price of prescription drugs…And it will do all of this without raising a single penny in taxes on people making under $400,000 a year or raising the deficit.  In fact, my plan cuts the deficit and it boosts the economy by getting more people into the workforce. That’s why 17 Nobel prize winners for economics say it will ease long-term inflationary pressure. The bottom line: If price increases are what you’re worried about, the best answer is my Build Back Better plan.” [President Biden Press Conference, 1/19/22]

“As we keep up our fight against the pandemic, it is more important than ever that we continue to expand coverage and lower costs. My Build Back Better Act would do just that — reducing premiums for more than nine million Americans, covering four million Americans in states that have failed to expand Medicaid, expanding Medicare to include hearing coverage, lowering prescription drug costs, and bringing down the price of insulin to no more than $35 for a month’s supply. My Build Back Better Act represents the single most consequential expansion of affordable health care since the Affordable Care Act a decade ago. We will press forward on passing Build Back Better, work to cut health care costs, and deliver greater peace of mind to American families.” [President Biden Statement, 12/22/21

Senator Manchin Supported Efforts To Lower Premiums And Reduce Costs In The American Rescue Plan 

“The ACA continues to serve as a lifeline for thousands of West Virginians and provides quality, affordable healthcare coverage. And last March, I voted for the American Rescue Plan which continues to provide lower premiums and cheaper health plans for West Virginians.”  [Senator Manchin Press Release, 1/14/22

“Senator Manchin believes that every American deserves access to quality, affordable healthcare. He has always said that our nation’s current system is in need of repair but we cannot simply repeal without a replacement. Senator Manchin believes that effective healthcare reform should expand access to coverage.” [Senator Manchin Official Website, Visited 1/20/22]

Senator Sinema Knows That Reducing Health Care Costs Is A Major Priority 

“We need to make health care more affordable, lower prescription drug prices, and fix the problems in the system – not go back to letting insurance companies call all the shots.” [@KyrstenSinema, 3/9/18

“The issue I hear about most back home is the cost of healthcare. […] We can and must come together to increase competition and innovation, drive down costs and improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare.” [Kyrsten Sinema, Senate Special Aging Committee Hearing, 3/6/19

Polling Confirms, The Most Popular Provisions In Build Back Better Are Health Care Priorities.

Navigator Poll Confirms Health Care Remains Most Important Reason to Pass Build Back Better. “Top reasons cited as good reasons to pass the plan are lowering health insurance costs, giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices, expanding Medicare, and raising taxes on the wealthy.” [Navigator Research, 11/11/21]

  • Health Reforms Remain Top Priorities For Americans Across The Political Spectrum. 82 percent support lowering health insurance premiums, 80 percent support lowering premiums for individuals purchasing insurance on their own, and 80 percent support allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs. [Navigator Research, 11/11/21]

Navigator Poll Finds Majority of Americans Believe Build Back Better Will Lower Premiums. Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe Democrat’s Build Back Better Act will lower the price of health insurance for millions of middle-class Americans and working families who buy their own insurance. [1/12/22]

Joe Biden, Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema and the American People All Agree: Medicare Negotiations and Reducing Prescription Drug Prices Should Be in Build Back Better

President Biden and Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema and the American people all agree — we need to lower the cost of prescription drugs. At his press conference yesterday, the president noted the overwhelming popularity for Build Back Better’s drug pricing measures, saying “the American people overwhelmingly agree with me on prescription drugs.” Americans are tired of being forced to make impossible choices between affording essential medications, putting food on the table, or paying rent. As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever that Congress pass the prescription drug provisions in Build Back Better, including allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices,  to ensure families can afford the health care they need. 

President Biden:

“My Build Back Better plan cuts the price of prescription drugs.  So, insulin that today costs some people as much as $1,000 a month will cost no more than $35 a month…The American people overwhelmingly agree with me on prescription drugs.” [President Biden Press Conference, 1/19/22]

“Right now, drug companies will set the price at whatever the market will bear. My plan also caps the amount that seniors on Medicare have to spend on prescription drugs each year to no more than $2,000 per year, with Medicaid and drug companies picking up the rest of the cost. And, again, our plan says that any drug company can only raise prices based on the rate of inflation and caps insulin cost-sharing at $35 a month. So, let me close with this: I’ve long said healthcare should be a right, not a privilege, in this country…This is not a partisan issue.  Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, so many other diseases — they don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican.  This is not whether — it’s not about whether or not your loved ones can afford a prescription drug you need.” [President Biden Press Conference, 12/6/21]

“Here in America, it will not surprise you to know that we pay the highest prescription drug prices of any developed nation in the world. There aren’t a lot of things that almost every American agree — can agree on.  But I think it’s safe to say that all of us –- all of us — whatever our background, our age, where we live — we can agree that prescription drugs are outrageously expensive in this country. It doesn’t need to be that way.  Under my Build Back Better bill, there will be — which has passed the House of Representatives — it won’t be the same way.”  [President Biden Press Conference, 12/6/21]

Senator Manchin:

“We should be also negotiating for lower drug prices.” [Bold Progressive, 10/1/21]

“We definitely should let Medicare negotiate the prescription drug prices. That’s one thing that should be done for sure. My God, look at the VA model. Just take the VA model.” [Bloomberg, 9/23/21]

“That should have been done years ago. How in the heck that never was done doesn’t make any sense at all.” [KHN, 7/15/21]

Senator Sinema:

“The Senator welcomes a new agreement on a historic, transformative Medicare drug negotiation plan that will reduce out-of-pocket costs for seniors — ensuring drug prices cannot rise faster than inflation — save taxpayer dollars, and protect innovation to ensure Arizonans and Americans continue to have access to life-saving medications, and new cures and therapeutics.” [Senator Sinema Press Release, 11/2/21]

Hart Poll Finds Americans Overwhelming Support The Drug Negotiation Provision In Biden’s Build Back Better Plan. 94 percent of participants support reducing the cost of prescription drugs by empowering Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies. [Hart Research, 9/13/21]

Voters From Across Political Spectrum Strongly Support Health Provisions Of Build Back Better. “Of the 16 provisions listed in the survey, five of the top six priorities for voters were health measures…Biden’s comments on lowering prescription drug costs will resonate with the entire electorate: 7 in 10 voters back the provision, including 4 in 5 Democrats and 3 in 5 Republicans.” [Morning Consult/Politico, 12/8/21]

Navigator Poll Confirms Health Care Remains Most Important Reason to Pass Build Back Better. “Top reasons cited as good reasons to pass the plan are lowering health insurance costs, giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices, expanding Medicare, and raising taxes on the wealthy.” [Navigator Research, 11/11/21]

  • Health Reforms Remain Top Priorities For Passing BBB. 82 percent support lowering health insurance premiums, 80 percent support lowering premiums for individuals purchasing insurance on their own, and 80 percent support allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs. [Navigator Research, 11/11/21]

TODAY: Congressman Tom O’Halleran and Advocates to Discuss ACA Open Enrollment in AZ and Encourage the Senate to Pass Build Back Better

***MEDIA ADVISORY FOR THURSDAY, JANUARY 20 AT 3:30 PM ET // 1:30 PM MT***

Phoenix, AZ – Today, January 20 at 3:30 PM ET // 1:30 PM MT, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01) will join health care advocates and Protect Our Care Arizona to discuss the record number of Americans who have signed up for coverage during the ACA open enrollment period, making the benefits such as ACA subsidies in the American Rescue Plan permanent, and the urgent need to pass the Build Back Better Act. 

A record 14.2 million people have signed up for coverage through the ACA marketplaces. Provisions in the 2021 American Rescue Plan made coverage more affordable than ever before, with enhanced premium tax credits allowing four out of five eligible enrollees to find a plan for $10 or less per month. As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has never been a more urgent time to ensure families can get the health care they need. President Biden and the Democrats have worked hard to lower costs for Arizonans. Now it’s more important than ever that the Senate pass Build Back Better.   

VIRTUAL EVENT: 

WHO:
U.S. Representative Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01)
State Representative Kelli Butler
Will Humble, Executive Director at Arizona Public Health Association
Steve Gomez, Arizona Health Care Advocate and Father 

WHAT: Virtual Press Conference to Discuss ACA Open Enrollment in AZ and Encourage the Senate to Pass Build Back Better

WHEN: Thursday, January 20 at 3:30 PM ET // 1:30 PM MT

WHERE: Register for the Event Here

President Biden Places Reducing Prescription Drug Prices as Top Priority to Pass Build Back Better

In Press Conference, President Biden Cites High Insulin Prices, Overwhelming Popularity of Drug Pricing Reform In Fight to Lower Drug Prices

Washington, DC — Today, in a press conference, President Biden reaffirmed his commitment to bringing down prescription drug prices as lawmakers continue working to pass the Build Back Better Act. The president noted the overwhelming popularity for Build Back Better’s drug pricing measures, saying “the American people overwhelmingly agree with me on prescription drugs.” In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:

“President Biden made clear that whatever the future of the Build Back Better Act entails, it will include provisions to lower prescription drug prices. Americans are sick and tired of making impossible choices between paying for the medications they need to survive and affording essentials like food or rent. The Build Back Better Act will finally meet the demands of the vast majority of Americans and give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices. The president’s commitment to delivering lower costs for the American people is unmatched, and he won’t rest until he gets this done.”  

Navigator Poll Demonstrates The Majority of Americans Continue To Support Build Back Better. Overall, 63 percent of registered voters support the Medicare drug price negotiation provision in Build Back Better, including 87 percent of Democrats, 48 percent of Independents, and 39 percent of Republicans. [Navigator, 1/12/22]

Voters From Across Political Spectrum Strongly Support Health Provisions Of Build Back Better. “Of the 16 provisions listed in the survey, five of the top six priorities for voters were health measures…Biden’s comments on lowering prescription drug costs will resonate with the entire electorate: 7 in 10 voters back the provision, including 4 in 5 Democrats and 3 in 5 Republicans.” [Morning Consult/Politico, 12/8/21]

Navigator Poll Confirms Health Care Remains Most Important Reason to Pass Build Back Better. “Top reasons cited as good reasons to pass the plan are lowering health insurance costs, giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices, expanding Medicare, and raising taxes on the wealthy.” [Navigator Research, 11/11/21]

  • Health Reforms Remain Top Priorities For Passing BBB. 82 percent support lowering health insurance premiums, 80 percent support lowering premiums for individuals purchasing insurance on their own, and 80 percent support allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs. [Navigator Research, 11/11/21]

President Biden’s Health Achievements

What a Difference a Year Makes

In his first year as President, Joe Biden has made tremendous strides in battling the pandemic, lowering health care costs, and expanding coverage.

When President Biden assumed office one year ago, he inherited the greatest public health crisis this nation has ever faced, but thanks to his leadership, we now have a science driven approach to the pandemic that protects American lives and livelihoods, that has reopened schools, kept businesses afloat, bolstered our health care system, and prevented millions of hospitalizations and deaths. And the work didn’t stop there.

In 2021, President Biden made historic investments in American health care. Thanks to his vision and determination, nearly 14 million people are now covered by an ACA Marketplace plan, an additional 80 million Americans receive their coverage through Medicaid or CHIP, and nearly five million individuals became newly insured. Americans can now sleep easier at night knowing President Biden and Democrats in Congress are fighting to ensure that health care is right for every American.

Biden’s First Year By The Numbers

  • 13.8 million Americans now covered under an ACA plan
  • 4.6 million Americans newly signed up for ACA Marketplace coverage in 2021
  • 83.2 million Americans now have health coverage through Medicaid or CHIP
  • 249.4 million people have received at least one COVID-19 shot
  • 81 million people have received a booster shot
  • 1 million COVID-19 deaths and 10 million hospitalizations have been avoided
  • 53 percent of Americans support President Biden’s handling of the pandemic

President Biden Has Expanded Affordable Health Coverage

Millions Of Americans Enrolled In Affordable Coverage. A record 13.8 million Americans now receive their health insurance through an Affordable Care Act Marketplace. More than 4.6 million Americans newly gained coverage through the Marketplace in 2021, including 2.8 million Americans who enrolled during the Special Enrollment Period (SEP), and 1.8 million who signed up during traditional open enrollment. 

Cutting Health Care Costs And Expanding Access To Lifesaving Coverage. The American Rescue Plan has reduced or eliminated Marketplace premiums for millions across the country. Under the plan, 3.6 million uninsured Americans became eligible for health coverage tax credits and 1.7 million individuals have access to coverage with zero dollar premiums.

Saving American Families Thousands On Premiums. Premium savings under the American Rescue Plan benefit all Americans, with families now saving an average of $2,400 a year on their health insurance premiums. Four out of five individuals who signed up for a Marketplace plan during the SEP, were able to get coverage for less than $10 per month. These savings are particularly important for older Americans. For example, a 60-year-old couple with an annual income of $75,000 saw their monthly premiums drop from $1,920, to just $531, saving more than $1,389 each month.

Implemented A Ban On Surprise Billing. The No Surprises Act went into effect January 1, 2022 and prohibits surprise medical bills for out-of-network care that occurs in unexpected or emergency situations. The Biden Administration is committed to protecting patients and holding insurers and providers accountable for deceptive billing practices. 

President Biden Has Expanded Access To Medicaid

One In Four Americans Are Now Covered By Medicaid & CHIP. Between February 2020 and June 2021, more than 12 million Americans enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP, bringing the total number of enrollees to an all time high of 83.2 million. Reporting on the increase, The New York Times stated, “The spike in enrollment demonstrates Medicaid’s increasingly important role not just as a safety net, but also as a pillar of the American health system.” President Biden understands the critical roles Medicaid and CHIP play in American health care, which is why he has been a fierce advocate for the expansion and strengthening of Medicaid. The ARP provided generous incentives for non-expansion states to adopt Medicaid, temporarily increasing the federal government’s contribution to each state’s program over a two year period. This increase in federal funding would have exceeded the cost of expansion, creating a large financial benefit to each state.

Revoking Harmful Work Requirements. President Biden understands that health care is a right, not a privilege. In 2021, he kept his promise to roll back discriminatory Medicaid work requirements that create unnecessary obstacles for low-income individuals seeking access to affordable, quality health coverage. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services have repeatedly stated that the vast majority of Medicaid beneficiaries are employed, ill, or disabled. The Biden Administration’s quick action put a permanent stop to these requirements in 12 states that received waivers under the previous administration. 

Improving Maternal Health Access. The American Rescue Plan created a pathway to coverage for pregnant Americans, allowing states to extend postpartum coverage under Medicaid from 60 days to 12 months following pregnancy. The United States has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the industrialized world, with 12 percent of maternal deaths occurring between six weeks and one year following delivery, after Medicaid coverage has ended. These numbers demonstrate the immense need for continuous health coverage for a minimum of one year following the birth of a child. 

President Biden Has Lead On The Pandemic Response And Saved Lives

Shots in Arms. 75 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and over 60 percent are fully vaccinated.  Over 81 million booster doses have been administered, providing the best protection against the Omicron variant. The Biden Administration has made booster shots free and convenient at over 80,000 locations nationwide. Vaccines are our best tool to prevent severe sickness and death from all variants of Covid-19 and they have already prevented 1.1 million deaths and 10.3 million additional Covid hospitalizations. The administration continues to expand access to vaccines to more and more Americans, authorizing vaccination for 5 to 11 year old children in November, and opening eligibility for booster shots to 12 to 15 year olds in January. 

New Access To Therapeutic Drugs And High Quality Masks. On January 4, President Biden announced that the federal government is doubling the U.S.’ order for Pfizer’s Covid-19 antiviral pill, Paxlovid, which has been shown to reduce hospitalizations and severe illness significantly, another vital tool for reducing suffering and bringing the pandemic to an end. Twenty million doses of Paxlovid will be delivered in coming months, with the first shipments sent to hospitals on Christmas Eve. In the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in U.S. history, the Biden administration will distribute 400 million free, high-quality N95 masks at thousands of sites around the country beginning at the end of January. 

Increased Testing. Since taking office, the Biden administration has taken numerous steps to increase Americans’ access to vital Covid-19 testing, both at home and at testing sites around the country. There are more than 20,000 free testing sites around the country, including new federal sites deployed in response to the Omicron variant surge.  Four times as many rapid tests are available for Americans to use at home than were available last summer, and the administration has purchased a half-billion rapid tests this winter with the initial delivery starting this month. Americans with private health insurance are able to access up to eight, free at-home over-the-counter COVID-19 tests each month. The White House also announced that insurance companies are setting up systems to provide free tests to consumers up front without requiring reimbursement. The announcement is in addition to the Biden administration’s purchase of 500 million free rapid tests to send to American families.

Schools Open. Thanks to the efforts of the Biden administration to provide safe and effective vaccines for students, and funding for masks and ventilation in schools, nearly 100 percent of American students were back in the classroom full time in December 2021, up from under three-quarters at the end of last school year.  Although the Omicron variant presents new challenges for teachers and students, the Biden administration remains committed to doing everything possible to keep students and educators safe.

Workers Back To Work. The Biden administration has presided over the largest one year drop in the unemployment rate in U.S. history, and the creation of nearly six million jobs, the most of any first year president in history. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan and the success of the vaccination program, workers are able to return to work with greater confidence. 

Meanwhile, Republicans Continue To Restrict Health Care And Fight To Prolong The Pandemic

Every Single Republican Voted Against The American Rescue Plan And Relief For Millions Of Families. Not a single Republican voted for the American Rescue Plan, historic legislation that dramatically expanded health coverage and significantly lowered health care costs for millions of Americans. In addition to providing critical pandemic relief, the ARP has lowered premiums for people purchasing coverage through the marketplaces and expanded access to financial assistance for more middle-class families. 

Republican State Leaders Continue To Block Medicaid Expansion. Nationwide four million Americans are currently uninsured because they live in one of 12 states that have rejected Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Of these four million, 60 percent are people of color. These individuals have been denied health coverage because Republican lawmakers have waged an ideological war against Medicaid expansion. Even after President Biden included robust incentives for holdout states to expand Medicaid in the American Rescue Plan, Republican leaders have continued to defy expansion efforts, regardless of the enormous health and financial benefits to states. Each year Medicaid expansion is not accepted, thousands of lives are needlessly lost for cheap, political points. 

Republicans Continue To Spread Disinformation And Oppose Common Sense Covid Safety Measures. Republicans’ objections to vaccine requirements are putting American lives at risk and causing people to get seriously ill and prolonging the pandemic. Republican governors and legislators in Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Arkansas and Tennessee have changed their unemployment insurance rules to allow workers who are fired or quit over vaccine mandates to receive benefits. Republican members of Congress have filed at least 20 bills to block or roll back vaccine mandates. At least eight Republican governors have banned mask mandates in schools, often putting them at odds with their own constituents and local school boards. Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee used their official Twitter account to spread false information, asking: “If the booster shots work, why don’t they work?” The tweet was later deleted.

Big Pharma’s Endless Greed on Full Display In Aduhelm Fight

Washington, DC — Press reports indicate that Big Pharma is about to launch a massive lobbying campaign attacking Medicare’s decision to limit reimbursement for Biogen’s pricey and unproven Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm. CMS previously announced that it would be forced to raise Medicare Part B premiums for every Medicare recipient in response to the unprecedented price tag of Biogen’s drug. Biogen and its Big Pharma are rallying against Medicare’s decision to limit the drug to patients in clinical trials, even when the drug has dubious benefits for patients. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“Big Pharma’s greed knows no bounds. CMS made the right choice to limit Aduhelm’s coverage.  Medicare premiums shouldn’t go up for the millions of seniors who are already struggling to afford their everyday health care costs, just so Big Pharma can pad their profits and their executives’ pocketbooks. The Aduhelm debate only underscores the urgent need to pass the Build Back Better Act, which will put an end to the broken drug pricing system.” 

BACKGROUND:

Axios: Big Pharma’s Last-Ditch Lobbying Blitz For Aduhelm. “Now that CMS proposed limiting coverage of Aduhelm to patients who enroll in a randomized, controlled clinical trial, the public has 30 days to submit comments. An all-out lobbying blitz that pushes Medicare to scrap its plan and allow full coverage of the $28,000-per-year drug… Independent experts say Medicare’s proposal is a compromise based on the known science.” [Axios, 1/14/22]

Politico: ‘Not A Tolerable Situation’: Patient Groups Take Aim At CMS Over Alzheimer’s Coverage Decision. “Biogen declined to comment on its strategy, but the company told investors that it hoped CMS would revise its decision and cover the drug for patients who mirrored the populations that were already included in clinical trials… Separately, patient groups and pharmaceutical lobbyists plan to pressure Congress, making the case that CMS is stifling innovation and also creating a paradigm that will disproportionately harm patients with low incomes and patients of color.”  [Politico, 1/17/22]

The Washington Post: Alzheimer’s Groups Vow To Fight Proposed Medicare Restrictions On Controversial Drug. “The company [Biogen] plans to encourage patients and doctors to file protests about the CMS proposal during a 30-day public comment period, according to a company email obtained by Endpoints News, a trade publication. CMS officials, who opened the comment period Tuesday, said they plan to announce a final decision by April 11… The [FDA] approval was not based on evidence showing a benefit. The approval, along with reports about staff interactions with Biogen, set off a furor and led to an ongoing investigation by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.” [The Washington Post, 1/12/22]

Forbes: Medicare Proposes Restricting Coverage Of Aduhelm To Alzheimer’s Patients Who Enroll In Clinical Trials. “In approving Aduhelm in June of last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledged that there was insufficient evidence the drug would meaningfully improve outcomes, but granted it marketing authorization anyway under its “accelerated approval” program… Additionally, approximately 40% of patients who have taken Aduhelm have suffered swelling or bleeding in the brain. Others have experienced side-effects, such as nausea, dizziness, headaches and confusion. And, the manufacturer Biogen is investigating a patient death, which could be attributed to Aduhelm.” [Forbes, 1/12/22]

HAPPENING SOON: Senator Hassan to Hold Virtual Roundtable on Lowering Prescription Drug Costs

***MEDIA ADVISORY FOR TUESDAY, JANUARY 18 AT 9:15 AM ET*** 

HAPPENING SOON: Senator Hassan to Hold Virtual Roundtable on Lowering Prescription Drug Costs

Washington, DC — On Tuesday, January 18 at 9:15 AM ET, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) will hold a virtual roundtable with patients and health care professionals in New Hampshire to discuss the urgent need for Congress to take action to lower the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs.

Senator Hassan is working across the aisle to lower health care costs for Granite Staters and Americans. Senator Hassan led successful, bipartisan efforts with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to put in place protections to help end the practice of surprise medical billing, which is now in effect. Senators Hassan and Cassidy also successfully passed into law their bipartisan legislation to enhance education about biosimilar drug products in an effort to increase competition and lower drug costs. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan, which Senator Hassan helped pass into law, is helping to lower health care costs for many Granite Staters who purchase health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces.

 As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Hassan also advanced bipartisan legislation in 2019 to lower prescription drugs costs by enacting a cap on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for Medicare Part D beneficiaries and cracking down on pharmaceutical companies that raise drug prices higher than inflation. The Senator also joined in reintroducing The Affordable Medications Act, which would help reduce health care costs for Granite Staters who rely on Medicare by increasing competition and transparency for drug companies that are setting exorbitant prices on their products, and allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices.  

PRESS CALL:

WHO:
Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
Heather Carroll, Advocacy Director at NH Alliance for Healthy Aging
Jay Gupta, Director of Pharmacy and Integrative Health at Harbor Care in Nashua
Beverly Cotton, patiently storyteller from Weare
Leah Stagnone, Community Organizer for ABLE NH and patient storyteller from Litchfield

 WHAT: Senator Hassan to Hold Virtual Roundtable on Lowering Prescription Drug Costs

WHEN: Tuesday, January 18 at 9:15 AM ET

WHERE: Send Email to Register for the Event

Rep. Lauren Underwood and Health Advocates Join Protect Our Care to Discuss Importance of Lower Health Care Costs Ahead of Open Enrollment Deadline

Watch the Full Event Here

Washington, DC — Today, U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14), Covered California’s Peter Lee, and Illinois-based storyteller Audree Hall joined Protect Our Care for a virtual press conference to give a final push for health care enrollment ahead of the January 15 deadline. A record 13.8 million people have signed up for coverage through the ACA marketplaces thanks in large part to the American Rescue Plan’s enhanced premium tax credits, which were championed by Rep. Underwood. The enhanced tax credits dramatically lowered the cost of coverage for working families, allowing four out of five eligible enrollees to find a plan for $10 or less per month.

During the call, speakers conveyed the importance of Americans taking advantage of lower health care costs by enrolling in coverage in 2022. Speakers also urged the Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act, which passed the House in November, in order to make the enhanced premium tax credits permanent to drive down health care costs for families and expand coverage to millions of Americans.  

“The American people have sent a clear message this Open Enrollment period: when coverage is affordable, people enroll in record numbers. My Health Care Affordability Act, which was signed into law as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, has made coverage truly affordable for millions of individuals and families across the country,” said U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14). “I encourage all Americans who need health coverage to visit HealthCare.gov to enroll in a plan before the enrollment deadline this Saturday, January 15th.”

“Coverage means that you’re staying healthy and getting primary care. If you’re uninsured, you’re walking out of the hospital with a debt that costs more than a mortgage,” said Peter Lee, Executive Director of Covered California. “Millions of people are signing up for coverage because the American Rescue Plan helped make coverage more affordable than ever. It’s time for Congress to pass Build Back Better because it extends the expansions of the American Rescue Plan for three years. If we don’t lock those in, many people signing up today will drop coverage over the long term.”

“I lost my job. I have been the primary health care provider in my home, and the pandemic hits. What point in time do you decide to pay your mortgage or pay a health care premium?” said Audree Hall, a health care storyteller from Lake County. “I’m beyond grateful that the American Rescue Plan passed, and for those who have not signed up, check out the marketplace — there are options for you that you didn’t think you had before, that cover things you didn’t think it covered. It was life-changing for me. Please pass the Build Back Better bill and extend it for three years.”

“Thanks to health care champions like Congresswoman Underwood, millions of Americans are able to afford high-quality health coverage,” said Leslie Dach, Chair of Protect Our Care. “The success of the 2022 open enrollment period only shows how essential it is that the Senate work quickly to pass the Build Back Better Act to make these enhanced premium tax credits permanent and ensure that families have access to the health care they need during the pandemic and beyond.”

PRESS CALL: Ahead of Open Enrollment Deadline, Rep. Lauren Underwood to Join Protect Our Care to Discuss Importance of Lower Health Care Costs and Urge Enrollment 

***MEDIA ADVISORY FOR THURSDAY, JANUARY 13 AT 11:30 AM ET // 10:30 AM CT***

Call Will Convey the Importance of Ensuring Americans Sign-Up for Lower Health Care Coverage and the Need to Make Rep. Underwood’s Enhanced Premium Subsidies Permanent 

Washington, DC — On Thursday, January 13 at 11:30 AM ET // 10:30 AM CT, U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14) and health care advocates will join Protect Our Care for a virtual press conference ahead of the January 15 open enrollment deadline. A record 13.8 million people have signed up for coverage through the ACA marketplaces thanks in large part to the American Rescue Plan’s enhanced premium tax credits, which were championed by Rep. Underwood and allowed four out of five eligible enrollees to find a plan for $10 or less per month. The House-passed Build Back Better Act would make these tax credits permanent, driving down health care costs for families and expanding coverage to millions of Americans.  Congresswoman Underwood will speak to the importance of Americans taking advantage of lower health care costs and enroll for coverage in 2022. 

As Americans enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has never been a more urgent time to ensure families can get the health care they need. Polling shows strong, unwavering support among voters across the political spectrum for the Build Back Better health care priorities. The House-passed Build Back Better Act would make these tax credits permanent, driving down health care costs for families and expanding coverage to millions of Americans. It is essential that the Senate work quickly to pass the Build Back Better Act to level the playing field for working families and lower insurance premiums and prescription drug costs, improve care for seniors, and expand health coverage to millions nationwide. 

PRESS CALL:

WHO:
U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14)
Peter Lee, Executive Director of Covered California
Audree Hall, health care storyteller from Lake County
Leslie Dach, Chair of Protect Our Care

WHAT: Virtual Press Conference to Discuss Urgent Need to Lower Health Costs & Expand Coverage In Build Back Better Act

WHERE: Register for the Event Here

WHEN: Thursday, January 13 at 11:30 AM ET // 10:30 AM CT