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Congresswoman Debbie Dingell

Representing the 12th District of Michigan

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Dingell, Health Subcommittee Advance Bills to Lower Prescription Drug Costs & Make Healthcare More Affordable

March 27, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and the Health Subcommittee passed a dozen bills – some bipartisan – that will lower prescription drug prices and make healthcare more affordable and accessible for Americans.

The bills increase availability of generic, low-cost prescription drugs by reducing barriers to market entry, increasing competition, and making the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) more transparent. In addition, the Subcommittee passed bills to strengthen and improve the individual marketplace for health insurance and to make it easier for people living with pre-existing conditions to access quality, affordable healthcare.

“Americans are going into bankruptcy because of the cost of their prescription drugs,” said Dingell. “No one should have to choose between taking a pill or eating, or even worse cutting their pills in half,  in order to afford their drugs or treatment if they get sick. Getting generics to market faster and loosening drug manufacturers stranglehold on patients will lower costs. We owe it to the American people to do what we can to lower the cost of drugs.

Dingell continued, “Every American deserves access to quality, affordable healthcare. The bills advanced by the committee will help consumers navigate the individual market and find plans that work for their family and their pocketbook. For the millions of Americans living with pre-existing conditions, access to affordable care is necessary and life-saving. Patients expect their insurance to cover essential health benefits, and we cannot go back to the days when insurance companies could deny care that was medically necessary. We must keep moving forward to strengthen and improve healthcare in our country.”

Wednesday, the Health Subcommittee considered and passed 12 bills. Dingell is a cosponsor of each of these bills.

Proposals to Lower the Cost of Prescription Drugs:

H.R. 1781, the “Payment Commission Data Act of 2019,” introduced by Reps. Buddy Carter (R-GA), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Tom Rice (R-SC), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Greg Gianforte (R-MT), and Peter Welch (D-VT), provides the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) and the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) with access to drug pricing and rebate data in order for these independent, non-partisan commissions to help Congress better understand the true costs of prescription drugs to consumers and taxpayers.

H.R. 938, the "Bringing Low-cost Options and Competition while Keeping Incentives for New Generics (BLOCKING) Act of 2019," introduced by Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Buddy Carter (R-GA), would discourage parking of 180-day exclusivity by a first generic applicant that is blocking the approval of other generics. 

H.R. 1520, the "Purple Book Continuity Act of 2019," introduced by Subcommittee Chair Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), would codify publication of the patents of approved biological products in the Purple Book in a similar format and with similar requirements to the Orange Book, specify that the Purple Book should be published electronically on FDA’s website and updated routinely, and direct FDA to consider the types of patents that should be listed in the Purple Book.

H.R. 1503, the "Orange Book Transparency Act of 2019," introduced by Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL), would help to ensure that the Orange Book is accurate and up-to-date, by requiring manufacturers to share complete and timely information with FDA, as well as ensuring that patents listed in the Orange Book are relevant to the approved drug product. Patents found to be invalid through a court decision or a decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board would be required to be removed promptly.

H.R. 1499, the "Protecting Consumer Access to Generic Drugs Act of 2019," introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), would make it illegal for brand-name and generic drug manufacturers to enter into agreements in which the brand-name drug manufacturer pays the generic manufacturer to keep a generic equivalent off the market.

H.R. 965, the "Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act of 2019," introduced by Reps. David Cicilline (D-RI), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Doug Collins (R-GA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and David McKinley (R-WV), would establish a process by which generic manufacturers could obtain sufficient quantities of brand drug samples for testing thereby deterring gaming of safety protocols that brand manufacturers use to delay or impede generic entry.

 

Proposals to Lower Health Care Costs and Reverse ACA Sabotage:

H.R.1385, the “State Allowance for a Variety of Exchanges (SAVE) Act”, introduced by Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), would provide states with $200 million in federal funds to establish state-based Marketplaces. Under current law, federal funds are no longer available for states to set up state-based Marketplaces.  

H.R.1386, the “Expand Navigators’ Resources for Outreach, Learning, and Longevity (ENROLL) Act”, introduced by Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), would provide $100 million annually for the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) navigator program. The bill would reinstate the requirement that there be at least two navigator entities in each state and would require HHS to ensure that navigator grants are awarded to entities with demonstrated capacity to carry out the duties specified in the Affordable Care Act. The bill would also prohibit HHS from considering whether a navigator entity has demonstrated how it will provide information to individuals relating to association health plans or short-term, limited-duration insurance plans.

H.R. 1425, the “State Health Care Premium Reduction Act”, introduced by Reps. Angie Craig (D-MN) and Scott Peters (D-CA), would provide $10 billion annually to states to establish a state reinsurance program or use the funds to provide financial assistance to reduce out-of-pocket costs for individuals enrolled in qualified health plans. The bill also requires CMS to establish and implement a reinsurance program in states that do not apply for federal funding under the bill.

H.R. 987, the “Marketing and Outreach Restoration to Empower Health Education Act of 2019” or the “MORE Health Education Act”, introduced by Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), would restore outreach and enrollment funding to assist consumers in signing up for health care, which has been slashed by the Trump Administration;

H.R. 986, the “Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2019”, introduced by Rep. Ann M. Kuster (D-NH), would require the Trump Administration to rescind the Section 1332 guidance of the ACA promulgated in October of 2018 that would undermine the law’s consumer protections.

H.R. 1010, To provide that the rule entitled “Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance” shall have no force or effect, introduced by Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), would reverse the Trump Administration’s expansion of junk insurance plans, also known as short-term, limited-duration insurance plans.

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