WASHINGTON — Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento), co-chair of the House Democratic Caucus Taskforce on Aging and Families, on Dec. 12 hailed the House passage of H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drugs Costs Now Act.

This landmark bill gives Medicare the power to negotiate directly with the drug companies to bring down prices and make those savings available to all Americans with private insurance. The Lower Drug Costs Now Act will also cap out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries and expand coverage to include vision, dental, and hearing services.

“In the United States, 9 in 10 seniors take a prescription drug, and on average, they pay nearly four times more than people in other countries for the same drugs. It is unacceptable,” said Matsui. “Throughout the Sacramento region, I met with Medicare beneficiaries and families with private insurance plans. They told me about the choices they are forced to make when facing high prices – rationing medications, choosing between groceries or prescriptions, or just going without.

“With the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, we will bring down prescription drug costs for all consumers – Medicare beneficiaries and Sacramentans with private insurance alike.

“This bill will save taxpayers nearly $500 billion over the next ten years, and importantly, it reinvests those savings in innovative research at the National Institute of Health (NIH), addiction treatment programs, and community health centers, while successfully securing a historic expansion of dental, vision, and hearing coverage under Medicare. The Lower Drug Costs Act stands to benefit every American right now and makes critical investments in our health care future. I was proud to co-sponsor this bill, help usher it through committee, and voice my support for this landmark legislation on the House floor.”

The Lower Drug Costs Now Act would:

• Give Medicare the power to negotiate directly with the drug companies to bring down prices and create powerful new tools to force drug companies to the table to agree to real price reductions.

• Make the lower drug prices negotiated by Medicare available to Americans with private insurance too, not just those on Medicare.

• Stop drug companies ripping off Americans while charging other countries less for the same drugs by limiting the maximum price for any negotiated drug.

• Create a new $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for people on Medicare.

• Save taxpayers approximately $500 billion over the next ten years and reinvest that savings into:

– Expanding Medicare benefits to cover things like dental, vision and hearing,

– Combatting the addiction crisis, and

– Researching new cures and treatments.

Independent experts found the Lower Drug Costs Now Act would:

• Save American households $120 billion.

• Save private businesses more than $40 billion.

• Save taxpayers approximately $500 billion and reinvests that savings to expand benefits.

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