Kuster, McKinley Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Make Generic Drugs More Affordable for Seniors
Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH) and David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV) introduced the Ensuring Access to Lower-Cost Medicines for Seniors Act, legislation to lower the cost of generic drugs for Americans on Medicare, saving seniors billions of dollars annually. Last year, low-cost generic medications saved Medicare patients over $90 billion, but those savings are at risk because an increasing number of these medicines have been moved into the same category as more expensive brand name drugs. The Ensuring Access to Lower-Cost Medicines for Seniors Act would help reverse the negative impact of these recent changes to reduce out-of-pocket costs for patients on Medicare Part D.
“I’ve heard from many Granite State Seniors about the stress and anxiety they feel over the high cost of their medications,” said Kuster. “Americans who are on Medicare are struggling to afford overpriced generic drugs. The Ensuring Access to Lower-Cost Medicines for Seniors Act will help ensure that seniors can get the medications they need without the hardship of being forced to choose between their prescriptions and other essentials like groceries or rent. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation, and I hope that my colleagues will join me to support this commonsense measure.”
The legislation would:
- Ensure automatic coverage under Medicare of lower-cost generic medications immediately after launch
- Place generic drugs in a “generic-only” category so patients are not charged the higher brand rate
- Create a dedicated pricing category for specialty generic medications to ensure lower patient cost-sharing
Kuster has been vocal about the need to reduce the costs of prescription drugs and has called for the direct negotiation of Medicare Part D with pharmaceutical companies to reduce prices. Kuster has called for strengthening the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and has put forward solutions to improve access to affordable healthcare. On the Energy and Commerce Committee, Kuster has spoken out against the Trump Administration's efforts to sabotage the ACA and highlighted the potential impact of President Trump’s policies on individuals with pre-existing conditions. Her legislation, the Protecting Americans with Pre-existing Conditions Act, passed the House in May.