Senate Expected to Vote on Measure That Would Lower Drug, Health Care Costs for Older Ohioans
WASHINGTON, DC – August 3, 2022 – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hosted a news conference call to discuss his efforts to bring down the costs of prescription drugs and help working Ohioans with health care costs.
“We know Ohioans are struggling with high prices right now, and prescription drugs are some of the most overpriced goods many families are forced to pay for each month. After years of fighting opposition from Big Pharma, and the politicians who always do their lobbyists’ bidding, we are finally on the verge of making progress to bring down drug prices for seniors,” said Brown. “The Inflation Reduction Act finally takes on the drug companies to lower drug prices, particularly for Americans on Medicare.”
Brown was joined on the call by retired Toledo nurse Cheryl Cark. Cark takes medication for diabetes and asthma. Medicare has a gap in coverage for some medication costs which means sometimes her medicines can cost her hundreds of dollars each month out of pocket.
“Insulin costs $94.00 a month. In the coverage gap, it will cost $300.00 a month!! I eat ramen noodles at that time,” said Cark. “My Social Security Income is too high to be eligible for medication-assistance programs. It’s ridiculous that Medicare can’t negotiate. This needs to change.”
For years, Senator Brown has led efforts to allow Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies and to lower drug prices for all Americans. Now, the Senate is expected to vote soon on drug pricing provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, which include:
- Allowing Medicare to directly negotiate to lower the cost of prescription drugs to ensure older Americans get the best-possible deal on high-cost drugs. The Department of Health and Human Services would start price negotiations next year for 10 expensive and popular drugs which would increase to 20 drugs over time.
- Implementing a $2,000 cap on out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors.
- Establishing an “inflation rebate” that requires drug companies to pay a rebate to Medicare when they increase the price of their drugs beyond the pace of inflation.
Brown was also joined by Holly Holtzen, state director of AARP Ohio. AARP has advocated for years for lower prescription drug prices especially for older Ohioans who are on fixed incomes.
“This legislation is a vital and long-needed step to providing prescription drug price relief for millions of older Americans struggling to afford life-saving medications. We speak to so many of the 50-plus population forced to choose between basic needs such as food and shelter and their medications, and that is a choice no one should be forced to make,” said Holtzen. “We are grateful this bill will help alleviate that burden as well as save taxpayer and Medicare billions of dollars. This historic moment is of great importance to AARP and our members, and we look forward Congress delivering this necessary relief.”