WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) today delivered a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate to urge his colleagues to pass a drug pricing bill to help seniors, who are most at risk of coronavirus complications, afford drugs to treat coronavirus and other chronic conditions.
Current law says that seniors on Medicare Part D must pay 5 percent of their drugs’ costs out-of-pocket, regardless of the price. That means that seniors could pay astronomical sums on their own if they needed to take a very expensive medicine.
The Make Coronavirus Drugs Affordable Act (also known as Grassley-Wyden) would cap seniors’ out-of-pocket expenses so that seniors can better afford life-saving medicine. Complications from coronavirus are most likely to occur in older populations, illustrating the need for passage of the bill in case coronavirus treatments become expensive.
“We have to make sure that coronavirus medications are going to be available and affordable for senior citizens. If we know that our Medicare population is most vulnerable, let us focus on them,” said Dr. Cassidy, a physician who has worked with immunizations and public health. “Under our bill, what the senior citizen has to pay is capped, so whatever the coronavirus drug costs, the senior can afford. She won’t die because she can’t afford to pay 5 percent of whatever the list price of that drug.”
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.