New Dems Urge House Leadership to Move Bipartisan Drug Pricing Bills

July 17, 2019 by Dan McCue
A growing number of health systems and insurers providing real-time drug pricing information to physicians so they can help patients avoid "sticker shock" at the pharmacy. (Dreamstime/TNS)

WASHINGTON – Members of the New Democrat Coalition’s Healthcare Task Force asked the House leadership on Wednesday to hold a floor vote on drug pricing bills with bipartisan support as early as next week.

The request was made in a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, and Assistant Leader Ben Ray Luján.

In it, Representatives Angie Craig, of Minnesota, Kurt Schrader, of Oregon, Kim Schrier, of Washington, and Greg Stanton, of Arizona, say while they support efforts to stabilize and expand on the Affordable Care Act, their constituents are demanding action be taken soon to curb the rising costs of prescription drugs.

The task force members ask the House leaders to consider bringing the bipartisan drug pricing bills included in H.R. 987, the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act, to the floor in a standalone package for a vote next week when other healthcare measures are expected to be considered.

“Each of the drug pricing bills in H.R. 987 had bipartisan support when introduced, as well as through the Committee process,” the representatives say.  

“While we were optimistic our Republican colleagues would support commonsense fixes to strengthen the ACA, this comprehensive package was passed out of the House with only Democratic support,” they continue. “Consequently, our colleagues in the Senate have yet to vote on these noncontroversial drug pricing measures and send them to the President for enactment.”

The representatives note that at least three bills in the package would have an immediate moderating effect on prescription drug prices.

These include H.R. 965, the CREATES Act, introduced by Representative David Cicilline, of Rhode Island; H.R. 938, the BLOCKING Act, introduced by Representative Kurt Schrader, of Oregon; and H.R. 1499, the Protecting Consumer Access to Generic Drugs Act, introduced by Representative Bobby Rush, of Illinois.

The New Democrat Coalition members closed by reminding the House leaders and their colleagues across the aisle that “the rising cost of prescription drugs remains of paramount concern to all members, irrespective of political affiliation.

“There are families in every single congressional district struggling to pay for their prescription drugs. As such, this challenge calls for a unified approach. Respectfully, we urge leadership to bring these bipartisan measures to the floor and, in doing so, reiterate our commitment to tackling the rising cost of prescription drugs in a bipartisan manner before the August recess,” the members say.

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