U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) announced her support for bipartisan legislation to lower prescription drug prices today. The bill is sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR).
“As I travel around the state, the number one issue on the top of Arizonans’ minds is the rising cost of prescription drugs,” said McSally. “We are at a point where our seniors are forced to choose between buying groceries and buying a lifesaving prescription. Parents are forced to choose between paying rent and buying insulin for their child. I’m supporting Senator Grassley’s bipartisan legislation to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for their drug costs and ensure that Arizonans are getting the best possible deal for medicine they need.”
“Senator McSally is a leader in the fight to lower prescription drug prices. By taking on Big Pharma and putting her constituents first, Senator McSally has shown that she doesn’t just talk the talk—she walks the walk,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. “The Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act would lower premiums, cap out-of-pocket expenses and rein in the skyrocketing costs of prescription medicines. I was glad to be able to work with Senator McSally on several provisions in this bipartisan bill that has earned the endorsement of President Trump and AARP.”
The Prescription Drug Pricing Act of 2019 would lower out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Part D enrollees and increase drug pricing transparency through the drug supply chain. The bill holds drug manufacturers accountable in order to provide affordable prescription drugs, brings much needed reforms to the complex drug pricing system, and increases incentives for greater utilization of less costly therapies, such as biosimilars, in Medicare.
In 2018, nearly 1.3 million Arizonans were Medicare beneficiaries and around 1.1 million were Medicaid beneficiaries. Nationally, 72 percent of Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in Medicare Part D in 2018.
Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Wyden released an updated version of The Prescription Drug Pricing Act of 2019 in December of last year. Legislative text can be found HERE. The Grassley, Wyden press release can be found HERE.
The Prescription Drug Pricing Act would:
- Modernize and improve the successful Part D program by:
- Simplifying the program’s design;
- Protecting beneficiaries with high costs and providing peace of mind through an on out-of-pocket spending cap;
- Improving incentives to increase negotiation between prescription drug plans and manufacturers;
- Protecting the program from rampant manufacturer drug price increases; and
- Benefiting patients and taxpayers through lower government spending, premiums, and out-of-pocket costs.
- Increase transparency into pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) practices and manufacturer drug pricing decisions;
- Improve how Medicare calculates Part B prescription drug payment amounts to lower spending and beneficiary out-of-pocket costs; and
- Eliminate excess Part B drug payments that drive up beneficiary and program costs.
- Increase transparency and make manufacturers more accountable to federal taxpayers;
- Allow Medicaid to pay for gene therapies for rare disease through new risk-sharing value-based agreements, which will increase access to life-saving, miracle treatments for the most vulnerable;
- Apply pressure on manufacturers to lower list prices and report more accurate calculations of their rebate obligations; and
- Prevent spread pricing and gaming in the Medicaid program by PBMs to ensure that beneficiaries, states and the federal government are getting the best deal possible.’
McSally is committed to working across the aisle to deliver low-cost health care solutions for Arizona families.
On February 4, called for strengthening Medicare Advantage plans for Arizona seniors.
On December 19, McSally delivered major health care wins for Arizona in a year-end funding package that passed the U.S. Senate.
On December 10, McSally sent a letter to Senate leadership urging them to extend the medical expense deduction in any end-of-year funding package.
On December 9, McSally introduced legislation to delay Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments for two years. DSH payments go to eligible hospitals that serve a disproportionate share of low-income patients with special needs, including children, seniors and the disabled.
On October 21, McSally sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (NY) urging long-term funding of community health centers (CHCs).
On September 17, McSally sent a bipartisan letter with members of the Arizona Congressional Delegation urging Congressional leaders to permanently repeal the medical device tax.
On June 19, McSally pressed the Center for Medicare for real-time transparency to prescription drug prices to help Arizonans see and compare drug prices before they buy medications.
On February 28, McSally joined a letter to Senate leaders urging a repeal of the Health Insurance Tax.