Senator Hassan Discusses Health Care Costs with Constituents, Community Health Center Providers
At Events in Peterborough and Nashua, Senator Highlights Bipartisan Bill to Cut Prescription Drug Costs
PETERBOROUGH – In case you missed it, Senator Maggie Hassan met this week with Granite Staters in Peterborough struggling with high prescription drug costs, and providers at Lamprey Health Care in Nashua to discuss the importance of community health centers and how to support Granite Staters’ access to quality, affordable health care.
Recently, Senator Hassan helped to pass the bipartisan Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act out of the Senate Finance Committee, which would enact a cap on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for Medicare Part D beneficiaries and crack down on pharmaceutical companies that raise drug prices higher than inflation.
See below for coverage highlights from Senator Hassan’s events:
By Adam Urquhart
NASHUA - During National Health Center Week, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., stopped by Lamprey Health Care to discuss prescription drug pricing and health care costs, while also learning about the InteGreat Health partnership.
[…]Hassan sat at the head of the table and provided those health care professionals seated before her with an update on bipartisan steps that are being taken in relation to health care. One of them relates to the cost of prescription drugs.
"I hear far too often from people across the state that skyrocketing prescription drug costs are untenable," Hassan said.
Recently, she helped pass the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act out of the Senate Finance Committee, and spoke about it during Monday's roundtable. This piece of legislation would impose a cap on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for Medicare Part D beneficiaries, while cracking down on pharmaceutical companies that raise drug prices higher than the rate of inflation.
She said it will cap those out-of-pocket costs for seniors on Medicare to $3,100. So, once a senior gets passed that $3,100 mark, the government had been picking up 80 percent of so of the catastrophic amount. She said this now has Big Pharma and insurers paying, while the government is only responsible for 20%.
"We think that that gives pharma and insurers some incentives here on keeping costs down," Hassan said.
It would also penalize pharmaceutical companies that raise their prices faster than the rate of inflation, while also penalizing drug companies if prices go beyond inflation. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that over 10 years, the legislation could save taxpayers $85 billion in Medicare spending.
"The fact that essentially there was a bipartisan willingness to take Big Pharma on is a really important step forward for us and for the people you all serve," Hassan said to those seated before her.
By Jake Lahut
PETERBOROUGH — U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan says the No. 1 thing she hears from people across demographics in New Hampshire is a growing worry over the cost of prescription drugs.
[…]The Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act passed the Senate Finance Committee at the end of July before Congress went on recess, and has the support of House Democrats along with President Donald Trump, Hassan said.
Meeting with three constituents at the Twelve Pine deli and marketplace in downtown Peterborough Tuesday, Hassan listened to stories of unexpected costs and the burden of navigating the health care system.
She was joined by Melissa Gallagher, executive director of the Grapevine Family & Community Resource Center in Antrim, along with Laura Landerman-Garber of Hollis and Krista Gilbert of Keene, who said they have rare conditions that require costly medication, often not covered by insurance.
The senator described the committee vote as “a breakthrough moment in Washington.”
“Pharma has pushed back on all legislation like this successfully up until now,” Hassan told the women, “and the fact that we got a bipartisan vote out of our committee [on the bill] is what people who have been in Washington a lot longer than I have been keep telling me is a major deal. It’s a really big deal.”
[…]Gallagher — who met Hassan at a similar listening session in April on grandfamilies coping with the fallout of addiction — shared the story of a mother who accrued more than $40,000 in debt paying for insulin and other prescriptions.
Gilbert and Landerman-Garber described having to take measures such as traveling to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and being billed out-of-network for the only specialist one of them could find for her condition, who happened to be in California.
Hassan said she hopes this bill will build on the progress of the Affordable Care Act, and incentivize insurance companies to spend less on marketing and lobbying, and more on research and development for rare conditions.
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