Congresswoman Kelly Votes to Lower Drug Prices for Illinois Families

Congresswoman Kelly Votes to Lower Drug Prices for Illinois Families
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Congresswoman Kelly Votes to Lower Drug Prices for Illinois Families

Congresswoman Robin Kelly, a member of the Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, released this statement Thursday Dec. 12, 2019 regarding the passage of the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3):

“Too many Illinois families are forced to make the impossible decision between lifesaving medicine and groceries. No family should be forced into this situation because healthcare is a human right.

With today’s passage of the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, called H.R. 3, Congress took a major step toward reducing the high costs of prescription drugs. According to estimates from the House Ways and Means Committee, more than 480,000 of my constituents stand to benefit from the passage of this legislation.

Pills and thermometer. Courtesy of Pexel. Prescription. Drugs. Medicine

Pills and thermometer. Courtesy of Pexel

In particular, the costs of some of the most commonly used medicines will decrease significantly. People living with asthma stand to see the cost of their drugs fall from $1,400 per year to less than $300 per year – a cost saving of more than 500 percent. The million-plus Illinoisans living with diabetes will see the cost of some commonly used insulin fall to as little as $400 per year – a reduction of 350 percent.

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Likewise, drugs used to treat and manage breast cancer, prostate cancer and HIV/AIDS will be cut by two-thirds. These savings will help ensure that Illinoisans fighting cancer can focus on winning their battle, not battling bill collectors.

In addition to cost savings for Illinois families, H.R. 3 also includes provisions that I authored to provide dental coverage to Medicare recipients. A recent survey found that nearly half of all Medicare recipients had not seen a dentist in the last year. My provisions would use the cost saving achieved by Medicare through H.R. 3 to provide greater access to dental care for older Americans.

In 2018, House Democrats ran on a For The People platform focused on the kitchen table issues impacting American families. Addressing the high cost of prescription drugs was front and center. With the passage of H.R. 3, we are keeping our promise to the American people who elected us to fight for them.

I urge the Senate Majority Leader to take up this life and cost saving measure immediately.

While passing this bill is an important milestone, our work to address the high cost of prescription drugs is not over. I will continue working to pass my Orange Book Transparency Act, a bill that will allow lower-cost generic drugs to come to market sooner and foster greater competition within the generic drug sector. My bill was unanimously approved by the U.S. House of Representatives more than 220 days ago but has yet to see action in the U.S. Senate.”

A fact sheet on the benefits of H.R. 3 prepared by the House Ways and Means Committee is available here.

Ray Hanania

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