House Passes H.R. 3 to Lower Drug Prices

December 13, 2019
Press Release
Invests $456 Billion of Savings in Medicare Benefits

Eshoo Provisions Bolster Safety of the American Drug Supply and Allow Drug Payment Plans for Seniors

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House of Representatives passed H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act to address the high cost of prescription drugs in the U.S. For the first time in the history of Medicare, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will be able to directly negotiate the price of the most expensive drugs in the country, including insulin. The lower prices will not only apply to Medicare beneficiaries, they will apply to everyone who has private insurance. Manufacturers will no longer be allowed to hike prices faster than the rate of inflation, and very importantly, it caps the out-of-pocket costs of seniors for their prescription drugs at $2,000 annually.

Two provisions introduced by Rep. Eshoo passed as a part of H.R. 3. The first is based on Rep. Eshoo’s bill, H.R. 4633, the Investing in Safety and Innovation Act, which invests $2.895 billion of government savings in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure the safety, efficacy, and security of America’s drug supply. The second provision allows the out-of-pocket costs of seniors’ prescriptions to be split into 12 monthly payments instead of a one-time cost.

“At the core of H.R. 3 is allowing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to directly negotiate with drug manufactures to bring down the price of drugs. Direct negotiation will ensure Americans no longer pay three to four times more than patients in other countries for the same medications,” Rep. Eshoo said. “The $456 billion in government savings from this bill will be used to provide coverage for the expansion of vision, hearing, and dental services for Medicare beneficiaries, as well as colonoscopies and lymphedema treatment. My provisions in the bill ensure the safety of our drug supply and allow affordable payment plans for seniors. The Senate must pass this important legislation to bring down costs and improve care for the American people.”

Among several significant policies, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act:

  • Lowers drug prices and out-of-pocket costs for all Americans by allowing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate directly with drug companies. The lower prices and cost-sharing will apply to Medicare and ALL private insurance plans.
  • Stops drug price hikes by requiring manufacturers who raise the price of any drug that is covered by Medicare (including generics) above the rate of inflation to lower the price or pay the entire price above inflation back to the government.
  • Limits out-of-pocket costs on prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries. For the first time in the history of the Medicare Part D program every senior will have their out-of-pocket costs capped at $2,000. Today, some seniors pay up to $5,100 in out-of-pocket costs and some pay more.
  • Increases NIH funding to research and develop new cures. It provides $2.895 billion for the FDA to ensure the safety of our drugs; invests in our community health centers; and directs $10 billion to address the opioid crisis.
  • Adds vision, hearing, and dental coverage for Medicare beneficiaries, as well as colonoscopies and lymphedema treatment.

The Lower Drug Costs Now Act originated in Rep. Eshoo’s Health Subcommittee before advancing through the full Energy and Commerce Committee and the full House. You can watch her Subcommittee hearing HERE and the full Committee hearing HERE.