Norcross Votes to Lower Cost of Prescription Drugs
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) today voted to pass H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which will help bring down the cost of prescription drugs and level the playing field for American patients who are paying far more for their medicines than patients in other countries.
This bill will save taxpayers approximately $500 billion over the next 10 years and reinvest those savings into expanding programs such as Medicare benefits to cover dental, vision and hearing. Medicare will gain the power to negotiate directly with drug companies under this bill, and the lower prices negotiated by Medicare will be transparent so that private insurance companies can make the same prices available to their consumers.
“Americans are crying out for relief from skyrocketing prescription drug costs, and this bill will lower drug prices for every American struggling to afford their medications,” said Congressman Norcross, a sponsor of the bill. “This bill will expand Medicare benefits to include much needed dental, vision and hearing health services. Drug companies are charging hard-working Americans exponentially more for prescriptions than they charge patients in other countries – this is unacceptable. Today, I join my colleagues in calling on the Senate to take up this bill and swiftly get it to the President’s desk for signature to provide our seniors with the coverage they deserve and before any more Americans have to suffer because they cannot afford their medications.”
Congressman Norcross’ amendment to protect consumers and employees from hidden costs, which passed through the Education and Labor Committee in October, was included in the bill. The amendment gives additional protection to consumers and workers by ensuring that if an employer’s plan accepts the Medicare-negotiated drug price, then they cannot charge the employee more for the drug than the negotiated price.
Norcross added: “My amendment protects consumers by preventing employers from passing hidden costs onto their employees when the employer accepts lower negotiated drug prices.”
In New Jersey’s First Congressional District, there are 100,155 people enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan and 522,282 people enrolled in private health insurance. To put into perspective, those living with cancer, arthritis, asthma, HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis are expected to experience significant savings as a result of H.R. 3.
Specifically, H.R. 3 will positively impact:
- Patients living with breast cancer: In 2019, an estimated 8,340 women in New Jersey will be diagnosed with breast cancer. H.R. 3 can lower the average total cost of the breast cancer medication Ibrance by 65%.
- Patients living with leukemia: In 2019, an estimated 2,070 people in New Jersey will be diagnosed with leukemia. H.R. 3 can lower the average total cost of the leukemia medication Tasigna by 71%.
- Patients living with prostate cancer: In 2019, an estimated 5,710 people in New Jersey will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. H.R. 3 can lower the average total cost of the prostate cancer medication Zytiga by 66%.
- Patients with arthritis: 20.5% of New Jersey residents have arthritis, and H.R. 3 can lower their total costs on most arthritis drugs from about $40,000 to $10,000 per year.
- Patients with asthma: About 8.6% of New Jersey residents live with asthma, and H.R. 3 can lower their total costs on most asthma drugs from about $1,400 to $270 per year.
- Patients with HIV/AIDS: In 2015, 1,108 New Jersey residents were diagnosed with HIV, and H.R .3 can lower their total costs on most HIV drugs from about $15,000 to $6,000 per year.
- Patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS): One million people are living with MS in the United States, and H.R. 3 can lower their total costs on most MS drugs from about $40,000 to $13,000 per year.
- Patients living with diabetes: 8.1% of New Jersey residents live with diabetes, and H.R. 3 can lower the average total cost of some insulin products by more than 75%.
In addition to lowering prescription drug prices, H.R. 3 also reinvests savings into expanding Medicare coverage for dental, vision, and hearing services for constituents in New Jersey’s First Congressional District:
- About 93% of beneficiaries or 126,400 people stand to gain from adding a dental benefit.
- About 90% of beneficiaries or 122,700 people stand to gain from adding a vision benefit.
- About 90% of beneficiaries or 122,500 people stand to gain from adding a hearing benefit.
Contact: Carrie Healey, Communications Director