AARP Rhode Island State President Kathleen Connell released the following statement today, applauding Congressmen James Langevin and David Cicilline of the U.S. House of Representatives for voting to pass H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act.
“AARP Rhode Island commends Reps. Langevin and Cicilline for helping pass the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bipartisan legislation is a bold step toward lowering prescription drug prices and high out-of-pocket costs for millions of older Americans, including our 132,00 Rhode Island members.
“H.R. 3 would allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, set an annual out-of-pocket cap for seniors in Medicare Part D, and crack down on relentless drug price increases by pharmaceutical companies. In addition, the $500 billion that the Congressional Budget Office estimates taxpayers will save over the next ten years would be reinvested back into the Medicare program to create important new dental, hearing, and vision benefits. These benefits would improve older adults’ health and well-being and reduce future health care costs.
“High drug prices disproportionately hurt older Americans, particularly Medicare Part D enrollees, who take between four and five prescription medications each month and have an average annual income of just over $26,000 a year. The average annual price of a specialty drug used on a chronic basis is now $79,000. Medications cannot work if they are unaffordable.
“Now it’s time for the Senate to act. AARP Rhode Island urges Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse to pass the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act. The President and Congress will need to work together to get this done. Americans are desperate for relief from high prescription drug prices.”