US Senate News:
Source: United States Senator for Idaho James E Risch
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) joined Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) in reintroducing the Lower Costs, More Cures Act (LCMCA) to lower prescription drug prices, bring greater transparency to the prescription drug industry, and encourage American ingenuity in the development of new treatments and cures.
“Access to affordable prescription drugs is one of the greatest challenges facing Idahoans, particularly those in rural communities,” said Risch. “The Lower Costs, More Cures Act offers a commonsense solution to this problem by expanding access to alternative treatments and incentivizing the creation of new cures. Additionally, the bill increases drug pricing transparency and caps patients’ out-of-pocket costs for life-saving medication. This legislation would provide relief to families across Idaho, and I’m proud to support it.”
“America’s biopharmaceutical innovation recently brought life-saving vaccines to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in under one year,” said Crapo. “This same medical ingenuity is leading the world in bringing life-saving therapies to patients and discovering cures for the future. However, access to affordable prescriptions remains one of the most persistent challenges facing our nation, and these treatments are only effective if patients can afford them. The Lower Costs, More Cures Act is a comprehensive, market-based approach to leveraging competition, flexibility and transparency to bring affordable drugs to patients without stifling innovative growth and research.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated how every American stands to benefit from the life-saving work of our biomedical research community,” said Burr. “It’s essential our payment models, in both public and private health care programs, keep pace with future breakthrough developments. That’s why I’m proud to work with my colleagues on this important bill that will help lower costs for seniors, increase transparency and bring more choices to families buying medicines. This bill includes solutions that have strong bipartisan support and works to enhance Americans’ access to the next generation of treatments and cures.”
Additional co-sponsors of the legislation include Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.).
The Lower Costs, More Cures Act, among other things, would:
Modernize payments for drugs delivered in the doctor’s office under Medicare Part B;
Incentivize lower-cost alternatives, or biosimilars;
Establish an annual out-of-pocket cap of $3,100 for Medicare Part D enrollees and allow certain patients to pay in monthly installments;
Decrease beneficiary cost sharing from 25 percent to 15 percent of costs before the out-of-pocket cap is reached;
Allow prescription drug plan sponsors to offer, at minimum, up to four Part D plans per region, spurring competition and innovation;
Make permanent the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation model that enables Part D enrollees taking insulin to limit out-of-pocket costs to $35;
Allow state Medicaid programs to enter in outcomes-based agreements to pay for life-saving gene therapy treatments;
Provide the HHS Secretary with the authority to require drug manufacturers to provide pricing information on all direct-to-consumer advertising;
Codify a Trump Administration regulatory action that classifies insulin and other treatments for chronic conditions as preventative care so that high deductible health plans can cover costs before the patient reaches the deductible; and
Create a trade negotiator solely dedicated to putting American patients first in government trade negotiations related to medicines in order to prevent foreign free-loading off America’s investment.
The text of the bill can be found here.