Congressman Donald Norcross

Representing the 1st District of New Jersey
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Norcross Votes to Lower the Price of Prescription Drugs, Improve Access to Affordable Care

May 16, 2019
News Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) issued the below statement on his vote in favor of H.R. 987, the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act:

“Americans want and deserve access to quality health care and affordable prescription drugs, and Congress must deliver.

“I recently met with South Jersey patients, pharmacists and doctors who detailed the unthinkable choices families are being forced to make. When Americans have to choose between food or medicine, the system is broken. Our families are crying out for relief from out-of-control prices and unaccountable drug companies.

“There is broad, bipartisan support for efforts to increase the availability of generic drugs by increasing competition – and I’m relieved we voted to advance these commonsense proposals. Plus, we’re proactively making fixes to help keep premiums low and the number of uninsured Americans down.

“I strongly urge the Senate to put partisan politics aside and vote for these measures that help save lives.”

H.R. 987 is a legislative package that contains seven House bills – three that address drug pricing and four that help ensure access to affordable care.

Drug Pricing

Three of the original bills included in today’s House-passed package lower prescription drugs costs by promoting generic competition:

  • H.R. 965, The CREATES (Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples) Act
    This bill would establish a process by which generic manufacturers could obtain sufficient quantities of brand drug samples for testing, thereby deterring the gaming of safety protocols that brand name drug companies use to delay or impede generic entry. CBO estimates that the bill’s provisions would allow generic drugs (including biosimilar versions of biologics) to enter the market earlier, on average, than they would under current law.  Because of the earlier entry of lower-priced generic drugs, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would reduce the deficit by $3.9 billion over ten years.  
     
  • H.R. 938, The BLOCKING (Bringing Low-Cost Options and Competition While Keeping Incentives for New Generics) Act
    CBO estimates that the bill’s provisions would allow generic drugs to enter the market earlier, on average, than they would under current law.  Because of the earlier entry of lower-priced generic drugs, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would reduce federal spending on prescription drugs, reducing the deficit by $442 million over ten years.
     
  • H.R. 1499, Protecting Consumer Access to Generic Drugs of 2019
    CBO estimates that the bill’s provisions would accelerate the availability of lower-priced generic or biosimilar drugs and reduce the average price of drugs paid by federal health programs that purchase drugs or provide health insurance that covers drugs. As a result, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would reduce the deficit by $613 million over ten years.

Access to Affordable Care

Four of the original bills included in today’s House-passed package improve access to care by reversing the Trump Administrations sabotage and cracking down on junk insurance plans.

  • H.R. 1385, The SAVE (State Allowance for A Variety of Exchanges) Act
    This bill appropriates $200 million to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide grants to interested states to be used to create their own state-based marketplace. This will empower states to implement new approaches to expand coverage and lower costs. This spending bill is paid for by the savings from other bills in this combined legislative package.
     
  • H.R. 1386, The ENROLL (Expand Navigators’ Resources for Outreach, Learning, and Longevity) Act
    This bill reverses the of slashing funding for the Navigator program by 84% over two years – down to $10 million a year and, additionally, goes farther by strengthening the Navigator program by giving Navigators new duties of enrolling individuals in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  It also clarifies that Navigators can provide year-round assistance. This spending bill is paid for by the savings from other bills in this combined legislative package.
     
  • H.R. 987, MORE (Marketing and Outreach Restoration to Empower) Health Education Act
    This bill reverses the slashing the funding for consumer outreach and enrollment education activities by 90%– to $10 million. This spending bill is paid for by the savings from other bills in this combined legislative package.
     
  • H.R. 1010, Rescinding Trump Administration’s Final Rule Promoting Junk Insurance Plans
    Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance (STLDI) plans were designed in the Affordable Care Act to be temporary, three-month band-aids to help people bridge a gap in health coverage, like when, for example, they are between jobs. The Trump Administration is trying to wrongfully expand the time-frame, which makes health insurance less affordable for consumers with pre-existing conditions by undermining the market for comprehensive coverage. H.R. 1010 keeps the three-month mark for STLDIs.

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