Oct 17, 2019
AARP National Volunteer President Dr. Catherine Alicia Georges Testifies on Capitol Hill About High Prescription Drug Prices and Medicare Improvements
AARP calls on Congress to rein in high drug prices and strengthen Medicare by including hearing, dental, and vision coverage

WASHINGTON—Today, AARP National Volunteer President Catherine Alicia Georges, EdD, RN, testified at the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee hearing on “Investing in the U.S. Health System by Lowering Drug Prices, Reducing Out-of-Pocket Costs, and Improving Medicare Benefits.” 

Dr. Georges’ testimony today coincides with the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Education and Labor Committee markups of H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019. AARP supports H.R. 3 because it would lower prescription drug prices by requiring Medicare to negotiate drug prices, cracking down on drug price increases, and capping out-of-pocket costs for seniors with Medicare Part D. In addition, key House committees are considering using the savings generated from lower drug prices, estimated at $345 billion over the next seven years, to dramatically improve Medicare by adding new dental, hearing, and vision benefits.

Below are excerpts of Dr. Georges’ prepared testimony:

“AARP supports H.R. 3 because it will help lower prescription drug prices and the costs older Americans face. We are also pleased the committee is considering making key investments in the Medicare program.

“Simply put, current prescription drug price trends are not sustainable. There is no reason Americans should continue to have to pay the highest brand-name drug prices in the world. No one should be forced to choose between buying groceries and buying the prescription drugs they need. It is long past time for Congress to take action to lower prescription drug prices.

“Additionally, AARP has long supported closing the gaps in health coverage by including dental, hearing, and vision coverage in the Medicare program. The lack of coverage for these important health benefits leads to worse health outcomes for older Americans and could actually cause higher Medicare spending.

“Some Medicare Advantage plans and Medicaid programs recognize the value of dental, hearing, and vision in keeping people healthier longer. But their coverage is inconsistent, and not nearly robust enough. In order to achieve the best possible health outcomes, and the greatest value, Medicare should cover the entire person—from head to toe.

“It is time for Congress to take action to rein in high drug prices and add essential coverage like hearing, dental, and vision benefits to care for the whole person. Thoughtful efforts to reduce prescription drug prices and cover needed services could save tens of billions of dollars for patients, taxpayers, and our health care system. More importantly, they will help ensure that all Americans have affordable access to the drugs and care that they need to get and stay healthy.”

Dr. Georges’ full written testimony is available at https://bit.ly/33CMNm4

To watch the testimony, visit: https://www.youtube.com/c/waysandmeanscommitteehearings.

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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.

Media Contact: Greg Phillips, 202-434-2560, gphillips@aarp.org, @AARPMedia