AARP Idaho state director Lupe Wissel issued the following statement after the Senate Finance Committee’s 19-9 bipartisan vote in favor of the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act of 2019:
On behalf of our more than 186,000 members, AARP Idaho thanks the 19 senators on the Senate Finance Committee who voted for the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act of 2019, and we strongly encourage Senator Crapo to reconsider his “no” vote as this bill moves to the Senate floor. The time is now for legislation to rein in drug prices. AARP Idaho is disappointed in Senator Crapo’s vote today against this bill, which is a crucial first step on the way to full Senate action to rein in prescription drug prices. We are deeply committed to winning this fight on behalf of our members and all Americans.
High drug prices disproportionately hurt older Americans, particularly Medicare Part D enrollees who take an average of 4.5 prescription medications each month. Most Medicare beneficiaries live on fixed incomes, with an average annual income of just over $26,000. The average annual price for a single specialty drug used on a chronic basis is now an astounding $79,000. Medications are simply not affordable when their prices exceed a person’s annual income. Importantly, the bill includes an out-of-pocket cap on prescription drugs for seniors in Medicare Part D and cracks down on drug makers that raise prices higher than the rate of inflation. AARP also supported an amendment offered in committee to allow Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices, but that amendment was not adopted.
We commend the Senate Finance Committee for its strong bipartisan work to help seniors and all Americans, who now pay the highest drug prices in the world.