Pelosi Remarks at Press Event for H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act

Sep 25, 2019
Press Release

Contact: Speaker’s Press Office,
202-226-7616

 

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Pelosi joined Democratic Members and health care advocates in support of H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks: 
 
Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you all very much.  It is an honor to be here with each and every one of you.  
 
I am so proud to stand with Congressman Horsford and Congresswoman Dr. Schrier as we talk about something that strikes to the heart of the health and financial health of America’s working families. 
 
I’ve said on a number of occasions that the – this is an issue, the cost of prescription drugs, that I’ve seen on the campaign trail – I’ve seen grown men cry, grown men cry, ‘I can’t, I can’t provide for the wellbeing of my wife’ – who is talking about whatever diagnosis that is in the family.  It just makes people have to make difficult choices about their health, as well as their well-being. 
 
And so, it is a promise that we made, For The People agenda, in the last election.  For The People: we will lower the cost of health care by lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and we are here just to do that.  
 
H.R. 3, we had a placeholder in our top ten priorities.  And, this is not necessarily third, but in terms of numbers.  People had numbers because it related to the date or the eighth anniversary of gun violence – Gabby Giffords.  So, I don’t want the three to make it look any less important than one or two.
 
But, what it does, as you know, it ends the ban – imagine, there’s a ban on negotiating for lower drug prices.  There’s a ban.  So, it ends the ban for the Secretary now to have the opportunity to negotiate for lower prices. 
 
But, the very even better news there is that these drug prices will be lower not just for Medicare recipients, which was one of the original proposals, but for everyone. 
 
It will stop companies from ripping us off by charging five times, four times, three times what are charged in other countries, and has a formula for doing that. 
 
It will put an out-of-pocket limit of $2,000 for drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries and the question is, with the money that is saved, how do we re-invest it?  That will be determined by the committees of jurisdiction as they review the legislation.   
 
There are proposals about transparency – Mr. Horsford has one.  There are proposals about how to spend the savings on Medicare to improve benefits, maybe dental, hearing and visual. 
 
We’ll see what the committees propose and we’re anxiously awaiting the CBO report of how much will be there.
 
So, it is – we thank you, because without all of you, we cannot really succeed with this.  So, I thank the Medical – American Medical Student Association, Lower Drug Prices NOW Campaign – Margarida and Isaiah, first, and Tasha, with the Little Lobbyists – where is she?  Hello, darling.  How are you, Tasha? And then Brad Woodhouse, of course, Co-Chair of the Health Care Voter Campaign and President of Protect Our Care.  Protect Our Care has been so important to us.  
 
And, so, to all of you, know your power.  We were able to protect the Affordable Care Act, because you had ten thousand events across the country, telling stories, telling stories.  The stories had the power to convince, persuade – and people said to me ‘How on Earth did health care become such a – and the cost of prescription drugs – become such an important part of the campaign?’  I said, ‘Because it’s such an important part of people’s lives.’  And people voted on the strength of that.  But they would never have had the public awareness of it without all of you.  
 
So, thank you for taking us to new heights and awareness and therefore of, saying to everyone, Democrats and Republicans, and like Congresswoman Dr. Schrier said, we want this to be as non-partisan as possible.  We think there is an opportunity to work with the Administration to do something, to go forward and make very serious progress.  But it has to be very serious progress.
 
So, thank you. 
 
This is transformative.  Transformative.  And the whole system is transformative in the lives of the American people.  So, I thank you for that.  Mr. Horsford, thank you – Congressman Horsford – thank you, for the opportunity to be here today – share some thoughts, but thank you for your tremendous leadership on this issue of concern to American’s working families.  Thank you.

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