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Hartzler Opposes Nancy Pelosi’s Health Care Bill

December 12, 2019
Press Release

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-04) today voted against HR 3, legislation supported by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats mandating government control of drug prices, stifling innovation, and reducing the availability of life saving drugs. Instead, Hartzler is an original co-sponsor of H.R. 19, the Lower Costs, More Cures Act, which encompasses over forty bipartisan provisions focused on lowering out of pocket drug costs, protecting access to new medicines and cures and working on price transparency in healthcare.

“From my travels throughout the state, it is clear that the rising cost of healthcare is the number one priority facing Missouri families today,” Hartzler said. “While we must move forward with workable solutions to this problem, Speaker Pelosi’s H.R. 3 would mandate government control of key drug prices which, as research has shown, stifles innovation and limits the availability of life saving drugs for families that need them. This bill is not a solution. It simply perpetuates the problem,” Hartzler added.

Specifically, Speaker Pelosi’s H.R. 3 would appoint a government bureaucrat to set prices for a drug and, if manufacturers do not agree with this price, they will be subject to additional taxes that increase on a sliding scale. These strongarm tactics can lead to taxes up to 95 percent, forcing companies to quit offering lifesaving drugs. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) notes that 15 fewer cures could be developed because of H.R. 3, with other estimates suggesting up to 100 fewer cures brought to market because of Speaker Pelosi’s bill.

“We need legislation that lowers health care costs while encouraging research and development of new cures and promoting costs transparency. If even one cure is denied due to Speaker Pelosi’s heavy-handed bill, that is reason enough to oppose her scheme. For the many families caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, for the many families with a child struggling with childhood diabetes, for the mom or dad fighting cancer so they can be there for their daughter’s wedding, for all the brave individuals in my district fighting a disease or sickness, we need to be fighting for more cures, not less.

“That’s why I am an original co-sponsor of H.R. 19, the Lower Costs, More Cures Act,” Hartzler said. “Unlike the Pelosi bill, H.R. 19 encompasses over forty bipartisan provisions focused on lowering out of pocket drug costs, protecting access to new medicines and cures and working on price transparency in healthcare. This is the solution we need.”

Specifically, H.R. 19, the Lower Costs, More Cures Act:

  • Encourages innovation of new cures, promotes more low-cost options for patients and limits how drug companies can game the system. This includes stopping the establishment of “pay for delay” agreements in which drug companies pay generic manufacturers to keep a generic equivalent off the market. It also gives the FDA authority to approve multiple generic applications of the same drug, resulting in more competition and speeding cures to the market.
  • Makes drugs more affordable for seniors by capping out of pocket prescription drug costs at $3100 per year for Medicare beneficiaries in Part D. This includes a “smoothing out” mechanism that would allow seniors to distribute their out-of-pocket expenses throughout the year, minimizing the cost impact on those with fixed incomes. The bill further cuts out of pocket spending for seniors getting infused drugs like chemotherapy and lowers the cost of insulin for seniors in Medicare Part D.
  • Increases cost transparency and removes uncertainty at the pharmacy by requiring insurance companies to make real time information about prices available before a prescription is written. This allows a patient to discuss the most affordable treatment options with their doctor. The legislation also expands online cost estimate tools allowing patients to shop around ahead so they know how much they will have to pay before their appointment.
  • Stops subsidizing other developed countries’ health care by assigning a US Trade Representative negotiator to advocate for the American consumer and make sure other countries are not treating American innovators differently.

“The Lower Costs, More Cures Act is a bi-partisan solution that can pass the House, Senate and be signed into law. It is unfortunate that instead of supporting this effort, Nancy Pelosi has put her support behind H.R. 3, a partisan bill that relies on government control of medicine and is dead on arrival in the Senate. We need solutions and we need them now.  I encourage Speaker Pelosi to bring H.R. 19 up for a vote in the House,” Hartzler concluded.

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