December 12, 2019
Press Release

Bill Would Cap Out-Of-Pocket Health Care Costs For Upstate New York Seniors And Allow Medicare To Directly Negotiate Drug Prices, Saving Taxpayers Millions 

Brindisi: Congress must work to get money back in the pockets of hardworking Americans 

Congressman Anthony Brindisi today voted to pass H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, through the House of Representatives. This historic legislation would allow Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies and cap out-of-pocket costs for the millions of Americans enrolled in Medicare Part D.

“The skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs is the number one issue I hear about from hardworking Upstate New Yorkers, and unfortunately their stories are not unique,” Brindisi said. “Today we delivered on our promise to help fix our country’s broken health care system. I will continue working to find responsible, bipartisan solutions for Upstate seniors and working families to ensure that nobody has to choose between paying the bills and getting the medicine they need.”

According to AARP, the average annual cost of prescription drugs rose nearly 58 percent between 2012 and 2017. Prices in 2019 increased for 3,400 drugs on the market, with an average price increase of 10.5 percent, a rate roughly five times the inflation rate. In New York’s 22nd Congressional district alone, H.R. 3 would help lower out-of-pocket costs for the 117,000 people enrolled in Medicare Part D and another 467,000 who have private health insurance. It would also allow Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies to increase competition and bring costs down for patients. H.R. 3 would lower the cost of prescription drugs from cancer medication to insulin. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this legislation will save approximately $500 billion over 10 years to reinvest in strengthening Medicare and combatting the opioid crisis.

This legislation was praised by patients and health care advocates across New York’s 22nd district.

“Drug companies are price-gouging older Americans and taxpayers– who pay the highest drug costs in the world,” said Beth Finkel, AARP New York State Director. “AARP is proud to support H.R. 3, which would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and cap out-of-pocket costs for Part D enrollees. The bill also enhances Medicare by improving access and adding needed dental, hearing, and vision coverage. AARP applauds Congressman Brindisi and his colleagues for passing H.R. 3 and working to provide relief for older Americans struggling to afford needed medications and services.”

“I was a part of Congressman Brindisi’s Binghamton Roundtable on Prescription Drugs a couple months ago,” said Carol Howell of Endicott. “I am extremely pleased that he has kept his promise to work on the prescription drug issue on behalf of all the constituents in NY22.”

“I would like to thank Rep Brindisi for his efforts to lower prescription drug prices for that patients I serve every day in my pharmacy,” said Vinny Chiffy owner of Parkway Drugs. “I am appreciative that H.R. 3 begins to address retroactive DIR fees, which are clawed back from pharmacies by PBMs months after a drug is dispensed. These fees make it impossible for me to plan for my small business pharmacy and cause seniors to face higher out of pocket costs. H.R. 3 would standardize quality metrics that the PBMs use to assess DIR fees. I look forward to working with Rep. Brindisi as Congress works to enact bipartisan drug reform that would provide more transparency into anticompetitive practices by PBMs and ensure that DIR retroactive claw backs are prohibited so patients see lower cost sharing at the pharmacy counter.”

“Allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies will take money out of the hands of big drug companies and put it back in the pocket of seniors and working families,” Brindisi said. “H.R. 3 will help millions of seniors on a fixed income and working families trying to make ends meet. I’m urging the Senate to act swiftly and bring this legislation to a vote.”

Brindisi has championed efforts to lower drug costs during his time in Congress. Earlier this year, Brindisi held roundtables to hear directly from Upstate New Yorkers about the cost of prescription drugs. He helped introduce the bipartisan Ensuring Timely Access to Generics Act, a bill that would crack down on tactics used by pharmaceutical companies to delay generic drugs from coming to market. Additionally, Brindisi joined Democrats and Republicans to outline principles for legislation to increase transparency and competition in the drug marketplace. He also helped introduce the bipartisan ACCESS to Biosimilars Act, a bill that would increase competition by eliminating copays on expensive biosimilars and expanding treatment options for patients.