Amy Klobuchar

09/17/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/17/2021 08:50

In Letter to Becerra, Brooks-LaSure, Klobuchar Emphasizes Support for Provisions Allowing Medicare to Negotiate Drug Prices in Reconciliation Package

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure expressing support for their work to ensure provisions allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices for seniors are included in the upcoming reconciliation package.

In the letter, Klobuchar highlighted the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs, but noted that 'there are solutions on the table to help people access the medications they need at prices they can afford.' She emphasized the popularity of giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices in the reconciliation bill, citing recent polls showing almost 90 percent of Americans support permitting the federal government to negotiate for lower drug prices.

'Last year, one in three Americans saw their out-of-pocket medication costs increase, and certain brand-name prescription drugs in the United States cost two to four times more than they do in other countries. This has real consequences,' she wrote.

She continued later in the letter: 'To help bring down the cost of prescription drugs, we must ensure that the reconciliation package includes provisions that allow Medicare to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs directly with pharmaceutical companies. Currently, 46 million seniors are enrolled in the Medicare Part D program, and while the program has helped tens of millions of people access life-saving drugs, more must be done to address the high out-of-pocket costs too many Medicare beneficiaries are facing.'

In March, Klobuchar introduced legislation to allow for Medicare to negotiate the best price of prescription drugs.

Full text of the letter can be found HERE and below.

Dear Secretary Becerra and Administrator Brooks-LaSure:

I write in support of the Administration's recently-released plan to lower prescription drug prices, including through Medicare negotiation. I look forward to working together to make sure that meaningful negotiation authority is included in the upcoming reconciliation package.

As you know, prescription drugs are outrageously expensive in the United States, and people are struggling to afford the medications they need. Last year, one in three Americans saw their out-of-pocket medication costs increase, and certain brand-name prescription drugs in the United States cost two to four times more than they do in other countries. This has real consequences. Surveys have found that 58 million Americans were unable to afford prescribed drugs at least one time throughout 2019, and that nearly 96 percent of respondents considered lowering drug prices to be an important challenge facing Americans.

To help bring down the cost of prescription drugs, we must ensure that the reconciliation package includes provisions that allow Medicare to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs directly with pharmaceutical companies. Currently, 46 million seniors are enrolled in the Medicare Part D program, and while the program has helped tens of millions of people access life-saving drugs, more must be done to address the high out-of-pocket costs too many Medicare beneficiaries are facing.

We know that the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs in our country is an urgent problem, and there are solutions on the table to help people access the medications they need at the prices they can afford. By including provisions that give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices in the reconciliation bill, we can help cut the cost of prescription drugs while increasing access to life-saving medications. This idea has broad support: According to recent polls, nearly 90 percent of Americans support allowing the federal government to negotiate for lower drug prices.

We have the opportunity to act on these solutions now, and I look forward to working together to ensure that provisions that give Medicare the authority to negotiate drug prices are included in the reconciliation package.

Thank you for your continued support on this important issue.

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