WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Steve Daines (R-MT) yesterday spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate to urge their colleagues to pass a bipartisan drug pricing bill to help senior citizens afford prescription drugs to fight coronavirus and other chronic conditions.
Under current law, seniors on Medicare Part D are required to pay 5 percent of their drug costs out-of-pocket, regardless of the price. That means that seniors could end up paying enormous costs from their own checkbooks if they required a costly medicine.
The Make Coronavirus Drugs Affordable Act (also known as Grassley-Wyden) would cap seniors’ out-of-pocket expenses so that seniors can purchase more affordable life-saving medicine. Senior citizens are the most vulnerable to complications from coronavirus. Therefore, it is urgent for the Senate to pass this bill in the event that coronavirus treatments become expensive.
“We’re going to have a cure for coronavirus sooner or later, but if a senior citizen cannot afford that cure, it is as if the cure had never been invented,” said Dr. Cassidy, a physician who has worked with immunizations and public health. “We need for the cure to be invented, but we also need for it to be affordable, or otherwise it would not be available.”
“If our bill becomes law, we know that folks on Medicare won’t face sticker shock at the drug store counter,” said Senator Grassley.
“It is now past time for us to move forward to the Senate floor to debate these bills that have bipartisan support and that have garnered the approval of three major committees,” said Senator Collins.
“Bipartisan compromise is not dead. I’m pleased to see my colleagues putting politics aside and doing what’s right for this country. Lowering costs is more than just figures, numbers and spreadsheets. This is about keeping our families healthy without worrying about how much it’s going to cost or if they can even afford it,” said Senator Daines.
The Making Coronavirus Drugs Affordable Act (Grassley-Wyden) has passed the Senate Finance Committee, of which Cassidy is a member, and awaits a full Senate vote. The measure has been endorsed by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who is coordinating the all-of-government response to coronavirus.