CAHC Urges Improvements to Senate Drug Pricing Package

WASHINGTON, DC (July 23, 2019): The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) responded today to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden's (D-OR) introduction of the Drug Pricing Reduction Act of 2019.

"This bill is a mixed bag for patients and taxpayers. CAHC looks forward to working with the Committee to offer needed improvements," said CAHC President Joel White. "The legislation takes positive steps forward with the inclusion of measures to expand real-time benefit tools and enact an out-of-pocket cap for Medicare Part D beneficiaries. Unfortunately, these measures are paired with a number of government command and control policies that make Medicare Part D look more like Medicaid. This includes mandatory inflation rebates that threaten to undermine well-working parts of the Medicare program, and using a flawed formula to achieve its out-of-pocket cap which risks higher drug costs across the board in the long term.”

White added, "This bill also takes baby steps toward rolling back government-imposed barriers that hinder the uptake of cost-saving value-based payment arrangements (VBAs) for prescription drugs within Medicaid - but we need more where that came from. A CAHC analysis found that commonsense reforms to unleash the potential of VBAs across federal health programs could save $36 billion in total health costs per year. We are working with our champions on Capitol Hill to secure more robust VBA protections as part of the amendment process."

A leader in efforts to improve prescription drug affordability and access, CAHC released itsPrescriptions for Savings blueprint at a Congressional briefing in May. The document outlines policy reforms to save tens of billions of dollars through competition and common sense, including expanding real-time benefit tools, enacting a budget-neutral cap on Medicare Part D beneficiaries' out-of-pocket expenses, and addressing government barriers that inhibit VBAs in federal programs, among other measures.

Most recently, CAHC President Joel White co-signed a coalition letter led by Americans for Tax Reform opposing mandatory inflationary rebates in Medicare Part D.