House Passes Lower Drug Costs Now Act, Includes O’Halleran Amendment
WASHINGTON—Today, Congressman Tom O’Halleran voted to pass H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, legislation to lower the costs of prescription drugs by capping out-of-pocket drug costs, empowering Medicare to negotiate prices directly with drug companies, and making those prices available to Americans with private insurance as well.
“For too long, the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs have forced Arizona seniors, veterans, and families to make the choice between life-saving medication and putting food on the table,” said Rep. O’Halleran. “There is no reason hardworking Americans should pay three or four times more for their drugs than the same drugs in other countries. Today, we came together as a legislative body to address this crisis that has left far too many families struggling for so long.”
Analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that H.R. 3 will save Medicare hundreds of billion over the next ten years, creating monies that can be reinvested into the research and development of new drugs and funds to combat the opioid crisis, as well as direct returns into the pockets of Americans and private businesses. The legislation also includes provisions to expand Medicare to include vision services for the first time in the history of the program, a legislative initiative included in the larger package that O’Halleran helped introduce earlier this fall.
“I was also pleased that the House of Representatives voted to pass my amendment that would award grants to hospitals in rural and medically underserved areas, so these hospitals are able to establish a Graduate Medical Education Program, or partner with an approved hospital to host residents,” continued O’Halleran. “This program has proven results in incentivizing doctors to stay and practice in the rural areas that need them most. As we work to move H.R. 3 through the Senate and to the president’s desk, we must ensure that our rural communities are not left on the backburner.”
According to the Congressional Research Service, more than half of family medicine physicians reside within 100 miles of where they trained as residents. O’Halleran’s amendment incentivizes doctors to stay and practice in rural communities by providing opportunities and funding to bring medical students to rural areas for their residency training.
O’Halleran’s amendment passed 351 - 73, with support on both sides of the aisle.
“I was humbled to see my amendment to improve health care in rural areas pass with broad, bipartisan support,” said O’Halleran following the vote. “Together, we took real action to address a national crisis that we cannot afford to delay for one more day.”
Watch Rep. O’Halleran speak in support of his amendment, here.