Congresswoman Wexton Votes to Lower Prescription Drug Costs, Strengthen Affordable Care Act
H.R. 987 includes two amendments authored by Congresswoman Wexton
Washington, DC, May 17, 2019
Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (VA-10) voted in favor of H.R. 987, the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act, a major piece of legislation that addresses two top concerns of the American people--lowering prescription drug prices and defending vital protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
H.R. 987 passed the House this evening and included two amendments authored by Congresswoman Wexton that were both included in the final bill.
“Today, the House passed important, common sense legislation to lower healthcare and prescription drug costs,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “My colleagues and I are offering real legislative solutions that will lower the cost of healthcare. I came to Congress on a promise to protect healthcare for Virginians, today’s vote is just one part of keeping that promise.”
One of the Congresswoman’s amendments would add findings to the text of the bill regarding the expansion of the sale and marketing of short-term, limited duration insurance, known as junk plans, which weaken protections for the millions of Americans with pre-existing health conditions. This amendment calls special attention to the impact these dangerous plans have on children with complex medical needs and disabilities and their families.
Another amendment, offered with Congressman Joseph Morelle (NY-25), requires a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on how funding cuts to the Navigator program and to marketing and outreach efforts for the Affordable Care Act have impacted health insurance enrollment and the cost of coverage on the individual market.
Navigator funding in Virginia has been reduced by an astounding 76 percent between 2016 and 2018--down from approximately $2.2 million in 2016 to just $525,000 in 2018.
Background on H.R. 987, the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act:
H.R. 987 includes three bills to lower prescription drug costs by helping lower-priced generic drugs get to market faster and four measures to reinforce the protections for people with pre-existing conditions and expand enrollment in quality, affordable coverage to more Americans.
Getting more lower-priced generic drugs into the prescription drug market is a key way to create billions of dollars in cost savings for consumers and taxpayers. For example, in 2017 alone, the entry of generic drugs into the market saved consumers and taxpayers a total of $265 billion. According to one estimate, the average drug price decreases by 50 percent in the first year of generic entry, with an 80 percent reduction in five years.
The bipartisan legislative package includes the following three key drug pricing measures to remove barriers to lower-priced generic drugs getting to market and competing with brand-name drugs, thereby creating significant savings for consumers:
The bipartisan legislative package also includes the following four measures to improve our healthcare system by revoking the Junk Plan rule, thereby reinforcing protections for pre-existing conditions; expanding the number of individuals with quality, affordable coverage; and helping more states create state-based marketplaces: