House to vote on bill lowering prescription drug prices

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — House Democrats plan to vote later this week on a bill designed to lower prescription drug prices.

H.R. 3, now named in honor of the late Congressman Elijah Cummings, would empower the federal government to negotiate lower drug prices on the most expensive drugs covered by Medicare.

“It’s going to allow us to negotiate prices and not just pay whatever pharma says,” Congressman Peter Welch, D-Vermont, said.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates it will save consumers nearly $500 billion dollars over 10 years.

“We took an idea that President Trump proposed,” Welch said. “He asked a legitimate question — ‘Why does America pay the highest prices of any country in the world? Why are we the suckers?’ That’s the way he put it.”

Congressman David Trone, D-Maryland, says H.R. 3 will also bring relief to Americans struggling with the opioid epidemic.

But Republicans stand in opposition of H.R. 3 — saying it does more harm than good.

“H.R. 3 does not allow the innovation that Americans, my former patients and my constituents want in healthcare,” Congressman John Joyce, R-Pennsylvania, said.

Joyce said a better solution would be H.R. 19 — also called the Lower Costs, More Cures Act.

“We now have cures for melanoma, we now have cures for lung cancer and H.R. 19 allows that innovation to continue. H.R. 3, unfortunately, stops that innovation.”

The House is scheduled to vote on the legislation Thursday.