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To: Iowa Congressional Delegation: Senators Grassley and Ernst, Representatives Hinson, Miller-Meeks, Axne and Feenstra
Americans across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support Congressional action to lower the price of prescription drugs. Specifically, a strong majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents support specific policies like enabling Medicare Part D to negotiate for lower prices in order to rein in drug corporations’ monopoly power to charge people in the United States many times more than what our neighbors in other countries pay for the same medicines.
We applaud proposals like H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act and the newly-released Senate Finance Committee principles for prescription drug reform, which both include proposals for Medicare negotiations that would lower prices and then extend those discounts beyond Part D enrollees so that people with private insurance or no insurance can also benefit from more affordable medicines.
Including negotiations in the current drug reforms builds on the success that this policy has enjoyed in other government programs and agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, while at the same time recognizing that these days, veterans get their health coverage from a variety of sources.
Research shows federal programs which have the power to negotiate–including the Veterans Administration, the Department of Defense and Medicaid–all pay lower prices for drugs than Medicare, which does not have this authority. A Government Accountability Office report found that in 2017, prescription drugs in Medicare Part D cost twice as much as same prescription drugs provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In his recent address to Congress, President Biden said, “Let’s give Medicare the power to save hundreds of billions of dollars by negotiating lower drug prescription prices. . . It’s within our power to do it; let’s do it now.” We urge Congress to act on the President’s words.
No one in America should have to go without the medicines they need to take care of themselves and their families, particularly veterans struggling with health conditions resulting from their service to our nation. Lowering drug prices not only saves taxpayers money, it makes medicines more accessible for patients including veterans and their families. The time is now for Congress to take long overdue action to lower drug prices for everyone.
We look forward to working with you to make lower drug prices a reality this year in order to make our nation better for everyone.
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