05.17.19

Rep. Kilmer Votes to Support the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) voted with 233 of his colleagues to support H.R. 987, the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act. This bipartisan legislation makes health care more affordable, protects people with pre-existing conditions, lowers prescription drug costs, and rescinds the Trump Administration’s policy to expand short-term, limited duration health care plans.

“Millions of Americans, including folks all across our region, are struggling to keep up with the increasing costs of health care and prescription drugs,” said Rep. Kilmer. “In the greatest nation in the world, families shouldn’t have to choose between putting food on the table and paying for medication or other critical health care services. This legislation is a step in the right direction towards making health care more affordable, protecting people with pre-existing conditions, and lowering prescription drug costs.” 

The bipartisan legislation includes three drug-pricing measures to lower the costs of prescription drugs and create significant savings for consumers. The bill would halt drug companies from blocking access to the samples needed to create generic drugs, make it illegal for brand-name and generic drug manufacturers to enter into agreements in which the brand-name drug manufacturer pays a generic drug manufacturer to keep a generic equivalent off the market (according to a Federal Trade Commission study, these types of anti-competitive deals costs Americans $3.5 billion in higher drug prices ever year), and encourage competition on the generic prescription drug market by speeding up the development of more affordable generics and spurring competition. 

The bill also aims to increase the enrollment of the number of Americans who select marketplace health plans, and consequently lower health care costs, by making investments in the Navigators program and restoring outreach and enrollment funding, which inform the public about their coverage options, provide guidance for available financial support, and assist in finding the right insurance plan to meet individual needs.

This bill will also provide incentives for states to transition to state-based health insurance exchanges and empowers states to implement new approaches that lower costs and expand coverage. In addition, the bill rescinds the Trump Administration’s rule that promotes the sale of short-term limited duration health care plans, which discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and do not cover essential benefits.

Supporters of the bill include: AARP, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American Public Health Association, Community Catalyst, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Families USA, National Organization for Rare Disorders, Service Employees International Union, Protect Our Care.