May 4, 2017

Trumpcare Would Repeal Prescription Coverage and Provide Tax Breaks for Big Pharma

Statements From Public Citizen Experts

Note: The U.S. House of Representatives voted today 217-213 to pass the American Health Care Act.

Statement of Robert Weissman, president, Public Citizen:

“Driven by partisan extremism, blind ideology and an almost genetic predisposition to cut taxes on the rich and big corporations, House Republicans don’t care about the impact of their vote on everyday Americans. Trumpcare would throw 24 million Americans off the health insurance rolls and slash the core protections of the Affordable Care Act for insured people. The real-world consequences will be people dying from treatable illnesses, suffering needlessly and entering into medically driven bankruptcies. Republicans who voted for this morally bankrupt legislation will face a different consequence: losing office.”

Statement of Shanna Devine, lobbyist, Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program:

“Congress must pass legislation that makes medicine affordable, but the American Health Care Act does the opposite. It reduces Americans’ access to medicines while benefiting Big Pharma. President Donald Trump has stated that the pharmaceutical industry is 'getting away with murder' and claims he is committed to fixing the problem. Yet the bill he has championed provides benefits for insurers and Big Pharma corporations at the expense of patients.

“As part of the congressional negotiations around Trumpcare, the Republican leadership struck a deal that would allow states to waive basic requirements for select insurance plans, including prescription coverage. The repeal of essential health benefits will result in patients paying greater out-of-pocket costs to access lifesaving medicines. Americans who already are rationing essential medications will suffer more if insurers are allowed to sell meager plans that do not guarantee prescription coverage.

“At the same time, Trumpcare includes a $25 billion tax break for the pharmaceutical industry over 10 years. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated that repeal of the prescription tax would increase Medicare Part B premiums by $8.7 billion over the next decade, with the burden falling on seniors and state budgets.

“Congress should pass The Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act (S. 771, H.R. 1776), comprehensive legislation that would lower the price of medicines and hold the pharmaceutical industry accountable for abuses.”

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