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The Voice of the Black Community

Health

Rep. James Clyburn hails House bill to lower prescription drug costs
Legislation would authorize direct negotiation
 
Published Monday, January 13, 2020 8:16 am
by National Newspapers Publishers Association

STOCK PHOTO
A bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives gives Medicare the power to negotiate with drug makers to lower prices.

WASHINGTON – U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn hailed House passage of H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. The legislation gives Medicare the power to negotiate directly with drug companies and extends those lower prices to Americans with private insurance too.


“This is an important step toward providing American consumers more accessible and affordable prescription drugs,” Clyburn (D-S.C.) said. “In the United States, our drug prices are nearly four times higher than in similar countries, and this legislation will provide real price reductions that will put significant money back in the pocket of consumers.”

 

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Negotiating lower prescription drug prices has the added benefit of cost savings to American taxpayers. A portion of those savings will be reinvested in the National Institutes of Health to research new cures and treatments. Cost savings will also support an expansion of Medicare benefits to cover dental, vision, and hearing needs and sets a $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for those on Medicare.


In addition, cost savings will be used to fund provisions of Clyburn’s H.R. 1943 – Community Health Center and Primary Care Workforce Expansion Act of 2019. H.R. 3 will provide a $10 billion funding boost to community health centers, which serve 28 million Americans in communities across the United States, including over 350,000 veterans, 8 million children, and 1.4 million homeless patients.


This $10 billion includes $5 billion for capital improvements and construction to expand the footprint of community health centers and an additional $5 billion in funding over the next five years for community health center grants, allowing them to serve more people, including Americans living in rural areas, where half of the Centers are located.


“Providing robust funding to build on the success of community health centers is critically important to providing quality health care in hard-to-reach communities,” Clyburn continued. “In my district alone, where three rural hospitals have closed, there are eight federally-funded community health centers working to serve almost 190,000 patients.”


H.R. 3 passed the House on a bipartisan vote, 230-192, and was sent to the Senate for consideration.

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