Two Illinois Congressman voted against a bill that would require Central Medicare and Medicaid Services to negotiate prices for certain drugs as well as make additional changes to Medicare prescription drug coverage and pricing by requiring drug manufacturers to issue rebates and reducing the out-of-pocket spending threshold.
18th District Republican Darin LaHood and 13th District Republican Rodney Davis voted against the measure on Thursday last week. LaHood said during the House’s debate on the issue that the act would prevent research and cures for diseases from happening. “Patients shouldn’t have to chose between affordable medicines and life-saving cures. That’s why it is so disappointing that Democrats are barreling ahead with legislation that allows the government to arbitrarily set rates, will result in fewer cures, and has no chance of becoming law,” LaHood said. According to a press release from LaHood’s office, the Elijah Cummings Act would have 38 fewer cures created by life-saving medications over the next year and up to 100 by the end of the next decade. LaHood instead pushed for a separate measure, House Resolution 19 or the Lower Costs, More Cures Act, which also has bi-partisan support. LaHood contended that the Elijah Cummings Act would not be signed by President Donald Trump if it passed both chambers of Congress.
LaHood touted H.R. 19, which was introduced last Monday to committee, as cutting the cost of drug administration for those currently under Medicare and Medicaid. H.R. 19 provides an out-of-pocket spending cap for seniors as well as a cap on insulin costs under the Medicare Part D program. LaHood said it removes uncertainty and creates transparency at the pharmacy counter for all Americans. LaHood accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of forcing a partisan agenda by not bringing H.R. 19 to the floor.
Davis echoed similar sentiments: “The Congressional Budget Office found that the Democrats’ bill will lead to fewer drugs moving to the market and as the husband of a cancer survivor, I am extremely concerned about this,” said Davis. “Americans shouldn’t have to give up access to new treatments as they do in Canada and the United Kingdom. We should be able to lower costs without limiting new cures. The bill I’m backing lowers costs without sacrificing new drug treatments. The language in this bill was negotiated between Republicans and Democrats and could become law if Speaker Pelosi would put it on the floor. Unfortunately, H.R. 3 was negotiated between only Democrats and has moved so far left that it has no chance of becoming law.”
The Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019 passed the House 230-192 last Thursday and was received in the Senate yesterday for committee debate.