At a Senate Finance Committee hearing, Cortez Masto highlighted this legislation and the need to lower prescription drug prices for families
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced the Lower Drug Costs for Families Act, legislation to hold Big Pharma accountable and reduce the national deficit by more than $34 billion over a decade. Specifically, her bill would punish drug companies for raising prescription drug prices faster than the rate of inflation.
Cortez Masto’s legislation builds on the Inflation Reduction Act’s work to lower health costs for seniors with Medicare by ensuring that all Nevadans are protected from exorbitant increases in prescription drug prices—including private health insurance and employer-sponsored health plans like Union health funds.
“It’s outrageous that year over year, Big Pharma continues to raise prescription drug prices on Nevadans, and it’s time we put a stop to it,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “After passing historic legislation to lower drug prices for seniors, we need to finish the job by penalizing these companies for unjustified price hikes that affect families across the country.”
“Last year, we took significant steps towards bringing down prescription drug prices when provisions based on my bill to empower Medicare to negotiate were signed into law, but there’s still more we can do to build on that progress,” said Senator Klobuchar. “Our legislation would lower prices by further protecting consumers from price-gouging by pharmaceutical companies. I’ll keep working to ensure all Americans can reliably access the affordable, life-saving medications they need.”
Under current law, the federal government can only limit drug prices increases faster than the rate of inflation for drugs purchased and used by people with Medicare. The Lower Drug Costs for Families Act would expand this by:
- Requiring drug companies to pay a penalty for increasing prices faster than the rate of inflation for patients with private health insurance and Medicare.
- This bill would extend the inflation rebate penalty included in the Inflation Reduction Act to the commercial drug market and use 2016 as the inflation and payment reference year—leading to more robust savings for patients and taxpayers.
- Extending Medicare solvency by returning collected fines directly into to the Medicare Trust Fund.
- Saving the government billions of dollars over 10 years.
The Lower Drug Costs for Families Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). This legislation has been endorsed by Patients for Affordable Drugs Now, AFL-CIO, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), UNITE HERE, United Mine Workers of America, Communications Workers of America (CWA), and the American Federation of Teachers.
Senator Cortez Masto has been a champion of affordable, quality health care, including mental and behavioral care. Cortez Masto has pushed pharmacy benefit managers to help lower prescription drug costs. She passed legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices and cap the cost of insulin at $35-a-month for Medicare recipients through the Inflation Reduction Act. To lower health care costs for all Nevadans, Cortez Masto worked to expand health care subsidies for individuals and families getting health care through the exchange. She recently introduced bipartisan legislation to provide patients with transparent and timely access to prescription medications and treatments.