Draft Bill Provides Needed Prescription Drug Pricing Reform

prescription drug, variety of colorful pills

In early July, the Senate Finance Committee drafted legislation to help address the burdensomely high prescription drug prices affecting Medicare beneficiaries, and aims to have it passed through the upcoming reconciliation process.

This legislation would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, cap beneficiary out-of-pocket costs to $2,000 annually starting in 2025, and expand the Part D Low Income Subsidy Program (also known as Extra Help) to beneficiaries with incomes up to 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). This is up from the current limit of 135% FPL, which is about $18,000/year. It would also penalize Part D drug manufacturers for any price hikes that go beyond inflation amounts, and make Part D covered vaccines available at no cost.

We strongly support this legislation that can pass with a simple majority vote. High prescription drug prices often force seniors to make tough choices between paying for food, rent, other basic needs, or their medication. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey showed that half of all respondents delayed or went without care in the past year due to drug costs, and nearly one-third—including 43% of those with annual incomes under $40,000—did not fill a prescription or skipped doses due to affordability concerns. This legislation would help remedy this situation and by making drug prices more affordable, increasing coverage and putting a cap on out-of-pocket costs.

Please join us in contacting your Senators to urge passage of this legislation.

Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.