By the Office of Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D.
On Dec. 12, Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-Palm Desert) voted to lower prescription drug prices for seniors and American families. H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, is a historic, comprehensive bill that gives Medicare the power to negotiate directly with drug companies, making those prices also available to Americans with private insurance.
The bill, which passed the House Thursday afternoon, Dec. 12, also creates a $2,000 annual out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs and expands Medicare benefits to cover dental, vision and hearing.
“I enthusiastically voted for the historic Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act to protect and strengthen Medicare and to say enough is enough to Big Pharma,” said Ruiz, an emergency physician. “For the first time ever, this bill will allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices to lower costs for seniors and American families with private insurance. It reinvests the savings to augment research and development for new medicine and to add — for the first time ever — Medicare coverage for vision, hearing and dental care.”
Ruiz took to the House floor to discuss the need for this bill to become law. You can watch Congressman Ruiz’s remarks at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3ISU69qdkI.
H.R. 3 background
Specifically, this bill:
• Ensures seniors can get a fair price for the prescriptions they need by granting the Secretary of Health and Human Services the ability to directly negotiate drug prices for Medicare, capping Part-D annual out-of-pocket costs at $2,000 and creating penalties for price hikes that outpace inflation.
• Ensures that the global market pays its fair share for research and development, putting U.S. prices on par with other countries where patients are often charged less for the same prescriptions.
• Reinvests billions in innovation and research for new cures and treatments at the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and through other means.
The full text of H.R. 3 is available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/3.