Oct 23, 2019
AARP Applauds House Committee Markups of Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019

En español | WASHINGTONAARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer Nancy LeaMond released the following statement on today’s markup of H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019, by the United States House Committee on Ways and Means. The Energy and Commerce Committee and the Education and Labor Committee previously approved the bill.

“AARP applauds the three key House committees for advancing the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019. We urge the House of Representatives to pass this legislation that will help lower drug prices and out-of-pocket costs that older Americans are struggling to afford.  There is no reason Americans should be paying the highest drug prices in the world.

“H.R. 3 addresses AARP’s key priorities for lowering drug prices and the associated costs that older Americans pay, including allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, creating an out-of-pocket cap for seniors in Medicare Part D, and cracking down on drug price increases. AARP has long supported allowing Medicare to negotiate and use its bargaining power to get a better deal for beneficiaries – especially for the highest-priced drugs and for those drugs with little or no market competition.

“According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices would save taxpayers a staggering $345 billion. We are pleased the committees are considering investing those savings back into Medicare by creating new dental, hearing, and vision benefits in the program.  These needed investments would improve outcomes and reduce health care costs down the road.

“AARP is fighting hard on behalf of our members because high drug prices disproportionately hurt older Americans, particularly Medicare Part D enrollees, who, on average, take more than four prescription medications each month. Most Medicare beneficiaries live on fixed incomes, with an average annual income of just over $26,000. Meanwhile, the average annual price for a specialty drug used on chronic basis is now nearly $79,000. Medications are not affordable when their prices exceed a person’s entire annual income.

“It’s crucial that Congress takes meaningful, long-needed action now to reduce drug prices, and we urge all members in the House to support this legislation. More and more Americans are simply unable to afford the prescription medications they need. AARP is determined to win this fight on behalf of older Americans, and we stand with all Senators and Representatives who are committed to lowering drug prices.”

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About AARP
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

For further information: Veronica Byrd, 202-434-2579, vbyrd@aarp.org, @AARPmedia