WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) must ensure that robust Medicare drug price negotiations and stronger Medicare dental, vision and hearing benefits are a part of the final Democrats’ final budget reconciliation package and, Public Citizen and nearly 80 other groups said in a letter to the lawmakers today.
The letter comes after three Democratic House members voted against advancing Medicare drug negotiation during a committee markup in the reconciliation package, putting these vitally important priorities at risk. Letter signees include Communication Workers of America, National Organization for Women, Doctors for America, Church World Service, MoveOn, Indivisible, National Nurses United, and the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW). More than 100 organizations outlined the same priorities to Congressional leadership earlier this summer.
“This is an important opportunity to deliver for the American people and for seniors, in particular, who are still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic. The time has come to lower drug prices while also finally ensuring that seniors can get the dental, vision, and hearing care that they need to live full lives,” said Eagan Kemp, Public Citizen’s health care policy advocate.
The U.S. far outspends any other country for pharmaceuticals, and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices would produce hundreds of billions of dollars in savings that can be reinvested in bolstering Medicare coverage and help more Americans get the life-saving drugs they need. In addition, expanding Medicare access to dental, hearing and vision services would improve health care access to millions of Americans. Finally, implementing an out-of-pocket cap for all services in Medicare is crucial to ensuring that cost is not a barrier for seniors in seeking these services.
Read the letter here.