|Dear Mrs. Griffin,
Thank you for contacting me regarding my priorities to improve the American healthcare system. I appreciate the opportunity to respond.
Healthcare has been central to my entire life. I grew up in public housing and my parents struggled for work. My brother had a rare disease and did not have insurance. I watched my mother agonize over his care. My story is not unlike that of many Americans and it is why I am so focused on driving down the cost of healthcare, so families like mine growing up can get the care they so desperately need.
Even before I began my term as your U.S. Senator, I have known that something needs to be done to address the rising costs of healthcare in our country. Since taking office, I have been working on this issue by hosting roundtables with patients and stakeholders. I am working on a few common-sense solutions to solve a very complex problem.
First, the cost of prescription drugs must be addressed. My America First Drug Pricing Plan (S. 977), will do just that. It would require drugs sold in the U.S. cost no more than they would in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, or Canada. American consumers should not be subsidizing the rest of the world’s prescription drugs. The bill would require pharmacists to inform patients when choosing to pay out of pocket for a drug is cheaper than the patient’s copay, and have the out of pocket payment count towards their insurance deductible. Additionally, my bill would require insurance companies to inform patients of the total cost of their prescription drugs 60 days prior to open enrollment, allowing consumers to shop around for the best deal.
In addition to lowering the cost of prescription drugs, patients should be able to understand their medical costs. I have introduced the Prescription Drug Price Reporting Act (S. 1664). This bill will create a consumer-friendly database of prescription drug prices, empowering American families to make informed healthcare decisions. There is no reason patients should not know exactly what their prescription drugs cost before they get to the pharmacy.
Second, I have introduced the Protecting Patients from Surprise Medical Bills Act (S. 1266). Patients should never be surprised by unconscionable charges for simple procedures, and every patient should know what the price will be up front. Ensuring that prices and quality outcomes are aligned so Americans receive the best care possible when they visit a healthcare facility is critical.
Third, it is absolutely necessary that people with pre-existing conditions are protected. No matter what happens in the courts, it is imperative that these protections are guaranteed and healthcare costs are reduced for American families. That is why I have co-sponsored the Protect Act(S. 1125). This legislation would protect patients by prohibiting discrimination in health insurance coverage, provider coverage, and treatment coverage based on a beneficiary’s pre-existing condition.
Fourth, for years, pharmaceutical companies have been abusing the patent system to prevent competition and force American consumers to pay more for life-saving medicine. That is wrong. Prohibiting anti-competitive behavior by drug product manufacturers is imperative. That is why I have co-sponsored the Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Act of 2019 (S. 1416), legislation instructing the Federal Trade Commission to prohibit this abusive behavior of preventing generics and biosimilars from coming to the market which only drives up prices.
Finally, I am the lead sponsor of the We PAID Act (S. 2387),which would establish an independent commission to set a reasonable price for any drug that comes to market using the federal National Institutes of Health research. This will stop drug companies from developing drugs using taxpayer funded research, then turning around and price gouging patients.
American consumers are facing a crisis of rising drug costs and we cannot wait any longer. I WILL NOT and CANNOT accept the status quo of rising drug costs.
Again, thank you for your correspondence. As a member of the U.S. Senate, it is my job to protect Floridians every day, and especially in times of crisis. The soaring costs of prescription drugs is hurting Americans, and it is incumbent upon my colleagues in Washington to stand up and fight for what is right. We need to get something done this year to address the soaring costs of prescription drugs and I’m fighting every day to make sure we do.
I appreciate the time you took to provide your position on this issue. Should you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me.