Washington, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) voted to pass H.R.3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which will bring down the cost of prescription drugs and level the playing field for American patients. The legislation passed the House by a vote of 230-192. This bill finally gives Medicare the power to negotiate directly with drug companies for lower and more transparent prices for both Medicare patients and Americans with private insurance. It also creates a new $2000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for all Medicare beneficiaries.
“Our community is facing skyrocketing prescription drug prices—forcing many to choose between their medications or putting food on the table and a roof over their head,” said Garamendi. “That’s unacceptable, and it’s why I pledged to make this issue one of my top priorities in Congress. I’m pleased that this legislation invests the money it saves into expanding Medicare’s benefits to include dental, vision, and hearing; assisting innovation in the search for new cures and treatments; and helping combat the opioid crisis. I also appreciate the legislation’s $10 billion investments into Alzheimer’s research and community health clinics. I urge the Senate to take up and pass H.R.3, and send it to the President’s desk for his signature,” Garamendi concluded.
In California’s 3rd District, there are 88,670 people enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan and 493,839 people enrolled in private health insurance – all of whom stand to benefit from H.R.3. For example, those living with cancer, and arthritis are expected to experience significant savings as a result of H.R.3:
- Patients living with breast cancer: In 2019, an estimated 27,700 women in California will be diagnosed with breast cancer. H.R.3 can lower the average total cost of the breast cancer medication Ibrance by 65%.
- Patients living with leukemia: In 2019, an estimated 6,030 people in California will be diagnosed with leukemia. H.R.3 can lower the average total cost of the leukemia medication Tasigna by 71%.
- Patients living with prostate cancer: In 2019, an estimated 24,550 people in California will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. H.R.3 can lower the average total cost of the prostate cancer medication Zytiga by 66%.
- Patients with arthritis: 18.3% of California residents have arthritis, and H.R.3 can lower their total costs on most arthritis drugs from about $40,000 to $10,000 per year.
In addition to lowering prescription drug prices, H.R.3 also reinvests savings into expanding Medicare coverage for dental, vision, and hearing services for constituents in California’s 3rd District. Garamendi has been advocating for this issue throughout his tenure in Congress as a vocal supporter of the Seniors Have eyes, Ears, and Teeth Act (H.R. 576):
- About 99% of beneficiaries or 123,300 people stand to gain from adding a dental benefit.
- About 87% of beneficiaries or 108,300 people stand to gain from adding a vision benefit.
- About 99% of beneficiaries or 122,800 people stand to gain from adding a hearing benefit.
H.R. 3 also provides $10 billion investments in the BRAIN Initiative and community health clinics. As a member of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s, Garamendi has strongly advocated for an increase in the BRAIN Initiative’s budget to help identify a cure to Alzheimer’s. This money will help BRAIN Initiative’s facility at UC Davis compete for additional grants to support its critical research into curing Alzheimer’s. Garamendi also represents 39 community health clinics in Congress, and H.R. 3’s $10 billion investment into clinics will help bolster health care services throughout California’s 3rd District and the nation.
A fact sheet outlining additional provisions in the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R.3) is available here.