Organizations Representing Patients, Consumers, Seniors, Unions, Small Businesses, Employers, Physicians, Nurses, And Disease And Human Rights Groups Demand Action
WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the Senate prepares to vote on the Inflation Reduction Act, 77 organizations representing patients, consumers, seniors, unions, small businesses, employers, physicians, nurses, and disease advocacy and human rights organizations sent a letter to all Democrats in Congress urging them to immediately pass the historic prescription drug price reforms included in the Inflation Reduction Act.
“We are poised to pass the largest and most consequential health care bill since the Affordable Care Act – an historic moment to finally put patients first by lowering prices of prescription drugs in this country,” said David Mitchell, a patient with incurable blood cancer whose drugs carry a list price of more than $900,000 per year and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “When Congress finishes its work and passes these drug pricing reforms, they will move the nation in a new direction, providing savings to patients, taxpayers, workers, and employers. Americans who overwhelmingly support the legislation are watching expectantly for Congress to seize this opportunity and pass the drug pricing provisions now.”
This legislation will, for the first time, authorize Medicare to negotiate prices directly for some of the most expensive prescription medicines; institute a cap on out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries; and limit annual price increases to stop price gouging by drug corporations. CBO estimates savings of almost $300 billion to the federal government alone.
“Lowering prescription drug prices is the number one health issue Americans want to see solved, and we’re on the cusp of making that a reality,” Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer said. “AARP urges Congress to take action to allow Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs for the first time, saving seniors thousands of dollars and needless hardship.”
“Congress can make history in the next week by passing the most expansive and powerful reforms to help Americans afford prescription drugs since enactment of the Medicare Part D benefit in 2003,” the letter reads. “In a time of great division in our nation, this legislation has overwhelmingly bipartisan support. More than 70 percent of Republicans, Democrats, and independents back each of these reforms, which have consistently been the most popular element under discussion for reconciliation…Congress has repeatedly promised to address this problem, and the American people need the help now more than ever.”
There is enthusiastic momentum to pass the drug price provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act. All Senate Democrats support them, and Majority Leader Schumer said Democrats are excited to advance the popular drug price reforms this weekend. Speaker Pelosi is expected to promptly bring the House back to vote on the legislation next week. On Thursday, nearly a third of the Democratic senators, including Majority Leader Schumer, joined advocacy groups on Capitol Hill for a press conference calling for the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act including the drug price reforms. President Biden is prepared to sign this package when it reaches his desk, fulfilling a promise and bringing relief to millions.
Read the full letter and list of signers here and below.
August 5, 2022
Dear Members of Congress,
Congress can make history in the next week by passing the most expansive and powerful reforms to help Americans afford prescription drugs since enactment of the Medicare Part D benefit in 2003. On behalf of more than 75 organizations representing patients, consumers, seniors, unions, small businesses, employers, physicians, nurses, and disease advocacy and human rights organizations, we urge the Senate to immediately pass the Inflation Reduction Act.
The legislation is truly historic because for the first time ever it will:
- Require Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical corporations for lower drug prices — a reform that has been sought for almost 20 years;
- Discourage drug companies from increasing their prices faster than the rate of inflation, a reform that has special importance right now as we seek to curb the rising cost of everyday expenses;
- Cap annual out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries at $2,000 when they are currently unlimited and can run to more than $15,000 and expand the Part D low-income subsidies by expanding the income threshold for eligibility from 135 percent to 150 percent of the federal poverty level.
In a time of great division in our nation this legislation has overwhelmingly bipartisan support. More than 70 percent of Republicans, Democrats, and independents back each of these reforms, which have consistently been the most popular element under discussion for reconciliation. Congress can pass these drug pricing reforms before the August recess and move the nation in a new direction, providing savings to patients, taxpayers, workers, and employers. CBO estimates savings of almost $300 billion to the Federal government alone.
Rising prices are a top concern for American families and employers. Undeterred by the financial hardship and health challenges facing Americans today as a result of the pandemic, drug companies have already raised the prices of their products almost 1,200 times in the first seven months of the year — more than in the same period in 2020 and 2021.
Congress must seize this opportunity to stop the pharmaceutical industry from overcharging Americans with astronomical prices for brand-name drugs. Patients, workers, employers, and taxpayers should not continue to shoulder the burden of prices in this country that are nearly three timeswhat people in other comparable nations pay.
Congress can make history in the next week. Pass the Inflation Reduction Actand send it to the President for his signature. Not only will it break the pharmaceutical industry’s unilateral power to dictate prices to the American people, it will save lives, improve health, curb the impact of inflation, and put more money back into the pockets of American seniors, workers, and businesses.
Congress has repeatedly promised to address this problem, and the American people need the help now more than ever.
AFGE Local 704
AHEC West (Maryland Area Health Education Center West)
AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Alliance for Retired Americans
Alliance of Community Health Plans
American Academy of Neurology
American Federation of Teachers
Black Health Commission
Blue Shield of California
Building Back Together
Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy
Centennial State Prosperity
Center for American Progress
Center for Popular Democracy
Children’s Action Alliance
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative
Committee to Protect Health Care
Communications Workers of America
COVID Survivors for Change
Crohn’s and Colitis Young Adults Network
Democratic Disability Caucus of Florida
Doctors for America
For Our Future Action Fund
Health Access CA
Health Care For All Massachusetts
Health Care Voices
Heath Action New Mexico
Human Rights Watch
Invest in America Action
Kentucky Voices for Health
KS Business Group on Health
Lower Drug Prices Now
Main Street Alliance
Maryland Health Care For All Coalition
Medicare for All Coalition
Medicare Rights Center
Metro New York Health Care for All
Missouri Health Care for All
MoveOn Civic Action
National Health Law Program
National MS Society
Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
New Jersey Citizen Action
Nurses for America
Patients For Affordable Drugs Now
Pennsylvania Health Access Network
Protect Our Care
R2H Action [Right to Health]
Salud y Farmacos
Social Security Works
SWAA CT Coordinating committee
Tennessee Health Care Campaign
The AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland
The 99% Pennsylvania campaign of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
United States of Care
Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut
Unrig Our Economy
Voices for Progress
West Health Institute
West Virginians for Affordable Health Care