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Dingell Applauds Passage of Bill to Lower Prescription Drug Costs and Make Healthcare More Affordable

Washington, May 16, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell voted to pass a legislative package that will lower prescription drug prices and make healthcare more affordable and accessible for Americans.

The provisions included in the package would increase availability of generic low-cost prescription drugs by reducing barriers to market entry, rescind the junk plan rule, reinforce protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and help interested states set up their own state-based marketplaces that outperform the Federal marketplace. Dingell is a co-sponsor of all the bills included in the package.

“This legislative package delivers to the American people the relief they need – relief on drug prices and a guarantee they will be protected if they have a pre-existing condition,” said Dingell. “We owe it to the American people to do everything possible to lower the cost of healthcare.”

The bipartisan legislative package includes the following three key drug pricing measures to remove barriers to lower-priced generic drugs getting to market and competing with brand-name drugs, thereby creating significant savings for consumers:

  • The CREATES Act:  Currently, certain brand-name manufacturers use tactics to withhold or delay generic manufacturers getting from them the brand drug samples they need to develop their generic products.  This bill establishes a process by which generic manufacturers are able to obtain sufficient quantities of the brand drug samples, thereby blocking these delaying tactics.
  • The Protecting Consumer Access to Generic Drugs Act:  Currently, brand-name drug manufacturers can enter into a “pay-for-delay” agreement in which the brand-name manufacturer pays the generic manufacturer to delay bringing a generic equivalent to market, significantly hurting consumers.  This bill makes these “pay-for-delay” agreements illegal.
  • The BLOCKING Act:  Currently, the first generic applicant to FDA is granted 180 days of market exclusivity, but some generics then fail to move the product to market, called “parking” – thereby blocking other generics from applying to FDA.  This bill allows generics to get to market earlier by changing the rules on “parking.”

The bipartisan legislative package also includes the following four measures to improve our health care system by revoking the Junk Plan rule, thereby reinforcing protections for pre-existing conditions; expanding the number of individuals with quality, affordable coverage; and helping more states create state-based marketplaces:

  • The SAVE Act: This bipartisan bill appropriates $200 million to assist interested states in creating their own state-based marketplaces.  State-based marketplaces are outperforming the Federal marketplace, achieving lower premiums and higher enrollment.  This bill empowers states to implement new approaches that lower costs and expand coverage for American families, thereby improving our health care system.
  •  The MORE Health Education Act & The ENROLL Act:  These bills, containing provisions similar to provisions in the bipartisan Alexander-Murray proposal put forward in the Senate in the last Congress, restore critical funding for marketplace consumer outreach and enrollment education activities, as well as critical funding for the Navigator program, both of which the Trump Administration has slashed.  CBO estimates this funding will result in about 500,000 additional enrollees in nongroup quality, affordable coverage and Medicaid each year over the next 10 years.
  • Rescinding the Trump Administration’s Devastating Junk Plan Rule:  This bill reinforces the protections for people with pre-existing conditions by revoking the Trump Administration’s rule that promotes the sale of junk plans, which discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and do not cover essential benefits

Dingell is a passionate advocate for improving healthcare and lowering costs for hard-working Americans. She led the introduction of Medicare for All which is bold legislation to guarantee healthcare coverage and establish a single payer system. Dingell has consistently fought back against efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

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