Remarks at Press Event on H.R. 3, The Lower Drug Costs Now Act
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined House Democrats and health care advocates for a press event on H.R. 3, The Lower Drug Costs Now Act, critical legislation to ensure lower drug prices for seniors and families across America. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Good morning, everyone. This is really a very special day for us in the Capitol, because we are going to be talking about our H.R. 3 legislation, the Lower Drug Costs Now legislation.
Over the break, the Members consulted with their constituents, heard from them about the importance of this issue: not only for the good health of the American people, but the financial health.
I have said about the cost of prescription drugs, this is an issue that outside there, in the campaign trail and the rest, I’ve seen grown men cry about how they cannot meet the needs of their families when it comes to the cost of prescription drugs and what that means in their lives.
So, nothing, nothing is more persuasive to talk about the need for this and the difference that will make than to talk about the individual stories that people will tell, and that’s why I’m so proud to join our distinguished Chairmen in welcoming Pam Alvey and Doug Lehman to tell their stories.
Before they do though, I want to commend our three Chairmen: Chairman Pallone of Energy and Commerce, Chairman Richie Neal of the Ways and Means Committee and Chairman Scott, Bobby Scott, of the Education and Labor Committee. Three committees of jurisdiction on this legislation.
It is the out-of-control drug prices, an issue that touches every American family. Drug companies are charging Americans three, four, five, even in some cases ten times more than they charge for the same drugs overseas, even though Big Pharma admits that, even at the overseas prices, they make a profit.
The crushing burden of huge drug prices is weighing on seniors, on families, on employers and on taxpayers across the nation.
The American people need bold action and that’s what we are delivering today.
Just, as I said, the statistics are interesting; the personal stories are eloquent and compelling. But, just to note that we did get the Congressional Budget Office report since the last time that we came together to talk about this. And the CBO found under H.R. 3, when more seniors can afford to fill their prescriptions they need to stay healthy, we will be saving $345 billion on the Medicare Part D program alone. For families, America’s households, $160 billion in savings. And for businesses, some businesses, $50 billion.
When we negotiate fair drug prices, we reduce insurance premiums, lift the burden of out-of-control prices from patients, taxpayers and employers. This is about making sure that the investments we make at the National Institutes of Health – that basic biomedical research is the basis for much of the research that produces these wonderful drugs – and, therefore we want all Americans to have access to them in an affordable, in an affordable way. And we want to do so in a way that is fair, that supports innovation, but that also makes that innovation, that biblical power to cure, available to so many Americans.
So, it is pretty exciting that we will have an opportunity to improve health care, improve financial health for families, save lives and do so in a way that hopefully will be very bipartisan.
I remind that this was article one of our For The People Agenda. In the last election we ran and we said For The People, we would lower the cost of health care by lowering the cost of prescription drugs. H.R. 3 does just that.
And, now, I want to welcome to the podium the distinguished Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, who has – will be marking up this bill. Well, he’ll be telling you about that, but I thank Chairman Frank Pallone for his leadership, Mr. Pallone.
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Congresswoman Hill. Thank you very much, Congressman Allred.
We are so honored to have two leaders of the Freshman class be part of this initiative and they have been part of lowering health care costs and lowering – all kinds of things, protecting the Affordable Care Act, from day one. Mr. Allred had the bill on the Floor that very first day.
I want to thank our special guests who passed – Pam and Doug – for their moving stories and our Chairmen for their strategic thinking and this is, again, a transformative day. This is not incremental. This is transformative.
But, I also want to acknowledge that we were joined by Congressman Peter Welch, who is with us here and also Mr. Pascrell was here, but I guess he is gone now, but with Mr. Neal, to the Ways and Means Committee.
With that, I thank all of you for joining us, we are moving expeditiously. Two mark-ups this week and one hearing, next week the next mark-up, then, as the Chairman Neal said, we are putting it all together and go forward to take it to the Floor, we hope with the most bipartisan support possible.
But, none of this success would be possible without the stories that we have heard, the outside mobilization of so many of you, who have worked so hard to give voice to the concerns of the American people. Again, For The People, we are going to lower the cost of prescription drugs. That’s exactly what we are doing today.
I am going to excuse myself because, as Speaker, I have to open the House at noon.