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AHIP Submits Statement For House Hearing On Medicare Drug Prices

posted by AHIP

on March 7, 2019

AHIP submitted a statement on March 7, 2019 for a hearing in the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health on “Promoting Competition to Lower Medicare Drug Prices.”

Our statement emphasizes that AHIP’s member organizations offer many Part D plan choices, and deliver on their strong commitment to ensuring that those eligible for Medicare have access to their medications, lower costs for their coverage, and control over their health care decisions. We further explain that health insurance providers—along with their pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) partners—negotiate with drug makers for lower costs, encourage enrollees to use the most cost-effective, therapeutically appropriate drugs, and pass the savings along to consumers through lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

Our statement also addresses the following:

  • The reality that the monopoly power of drug makers allows them to set prices for their own financial gain at the expense of patients and taxpayers—and that they alone increase prices and they alone can decide to reduce the price of their drugs;
  • Our support for recent improvements to the Medicare Part D prescription drug program and enhanced private sector negotiation tools in Medicare; and
  • Our concerns with a proposed rule, published in February 2019 by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), that would dramatically change how Part D plans, Medicaid managed care plans, and their contracted PBMs negotiate discounts with drug manufacturers. By the government’s own estimates (which we believe may significantly understate the actual impacts), the proposal would raise premiums on America’s seniors by 25 percent, increase taxpayer costs by nearly $200 billion, and give away tens of billions of dollars to Big Pharma—while doing nothing to address the core problem of high drug prices in this country.