Congresswoman says measure to lower drug costs should pass

A local Congresswoman says the House will vote Thursday on a measure that she says will lower prescription drug costs, allow Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies, and cap out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs related to Medicare.

17th District Democrat Cheri Bustos says what’s called the “Lower Drug Costs Now Act” should pass, which she says will be a good thing for her district.

“We’ve got a mother in my congressional district. She has a daughter who is diabetic and obviously if you are diabetic you need — in the more severe cases — you need insulin to stay alive,” Bustos said in a conference call Wednesday. “So, the cost for this family is $230 a month after insurance. And so, literally, this is not a family that has a lot of needs.”

Bustos claims insulin costs have gone up 197 percent in the State of Illinois alone.

Illinois lawmakers passed a measure last month that would cap the cost of insulin at $100 for a 30 day supply, that Governor J.B. Pritzker says he’ll sign.

The East Moline Democrat says in addition to allowing Medicare to negotiate costs directly with drug companies, those with private insurance will also benefit — including cancer survivors.

“We have 11,560 women in Illinois who will be diagnosed with breast cancer and this bill could reduce the cost of breast cancer medication by 65 percent.”

Bustos claims over a half-million people in the 17th Congressional District alone could benefit by the legislation which she says would create a new $2,000 limit on out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare, and would keep so-called “Big Pharma” from negotiating lower costs with other countries.

But lawmakers are concerned that the measure may never be called for a vote in the Senate if it passes the House.

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