Rep. Cox votes to lower the cost of drugs by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices

Rep. TJ Cox votes to lower drug costs
Rep. TJ Cox votes to lower drug costs

Central Valley Congressman TJ Cox, who represents Lemoore and Kings County, voted (Dec. 12) to pass H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, legislation designed to strengthen the health and financial security of America’s seniors and families.

Cox said that he voted to ensure that Americans don’t have to pay more for their medicines than what “Big Pharma” charges for the same drugs in other countries. The legislation must still be passed by the Senate.

According to Cox, H.R. 3 would allow Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower prescription drug prices and end unjustified price gouging on thousands of medications like insulin. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has already stated the bill would lower domestic drug prices and save at least $345 billion for the American people. That’s about $1,920 every year for a family of four.

“Lowering the cost of life-saving medicine is not a partisan issue. When I meet with constituents throughout the district, they don’t tell me if they’re Republican or Democrat. They tell me they have diabetes, they have asthma, they have cancer, and many of them tell me they can’t afford their medicine,” said Cox.

“Central Valley families are being crushed by skyrocketing drug costs. I urge the Senate to take this legislation up promptly because we should be advancing an agenda for working families, not an agenda that undermines them.”

According to Cox, the “Lower Drug Costs Now Act” finally levels the playing field for American patients and taxpayers: 

  • Gives Medicare the power to negotiate directly with the drug companies and creates powerful new tools to force drug companies to the table to agree to real price reductions, while ensuring seniors never lose access to the prescriptions they need. 
  • Makes the lower drug prices negotiated by Medicare available to Americans with private insurance, not just Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Stops drug companies ripping off Americans while charging other countries less for the same drugs, limiting the maximum price for any negotiated drug to be in line with the average price in countries like ours, where drug companies charge less for the same drugs – and admit they still make a profit.
  • Creates a new, $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries, and reverses years of unfair price hikes above inflation across thousands of drugs in Medicare. 
  • Reinvests the hundreds of billions of dollars in savings in the most transformational improvement to Medicare since its creation – delivering vision, dental and hearing benefits – and turbocharging the search for new cures.

For the 59,470 21st Congressional District seniors enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan and the 264,824 individuals enrolled in private health insurance, H.R. 3 will deliver substantial savings that will make a real difference in their lives.

H.R. 3 will reduce drug costs for millions of Americans in the Central Valley and across the state of California: 

  • Breast Cancer: 27,700 women could save $45,100 off the average total cost of the breast cancer medication Ibrance per year;
  • Leukemia: 6,030 patients could save 66,300 off the average total cost of the leukemia medication Tasigna per year;
  • Prostate Cancer: 24,550 people could save $72,100 off the average total cost of the prostate cancer medication Zytiga per year;
  • Arthritis: 18.3% of California residents could save $30,000 off their total costs on most arthritis drugs per year;
  • Asthma: 2,398,304 patients could save $1,130 off their total costs on most Asthma drugs per year;
  • HIV/AIDS: 4,495 California patients could save 9,000 off their total costs on most HIV/AIDS drugs per year;
  • Multiple Sclerosis: California patients could save $27,000 off their total costs on most MS drugs per year;
  • Diabetes: 3,088,741 patients could save $15,000 off the average total cost of the insulin NovoLOG Flexpen per year.

Additionally, H.R. 3’s expansion of Medicare coverage for dental, vision and hearing services represents a significant out-of-pocket savings for California seniors, with:

  • 68,800 Medicare beneficiaries in 21st Congressional District estimated to gain dental benefits;
  • 57,200 Medicare beneficiaries in 21st Congressional District estimated to obtain vision benefits;
  • 65,400 Medicare beneficiaries in 21st Congressional District estimated to secure hearing benefits.   
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