AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer Nancy LeaMond released the following statement on the December 12 vote by the U.S. House of Representatives on H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act.

“AARP commends the House for passing the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. This bipartisan legislation is a bold step toward lowering prescription drug prices and high out-of-pocket costs for millions of older Americans.

“H.R. 3 would allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, set an annual out-of-pocket cap for seniors in Medicare Part D, and crack down on relentless drug price increases by pharmaceutical companies. In addition, the $500 billion that the Congressional Budget Office estimates taxpayers will save over the next ten years would be reinvested back into the Medicare program to create important new dental, hearing, and vision benefits. These benefits would improve older adults’ health and well-being and reduce future health care costs.

“High drug prices disproportionately hurt older Americans, particularly Medicare Part D enrollees, who take between four and five prescription medications each month and have an average annual income of just over $26,000 a year. The average annual price of a specialty drug used on a chronic basis is now $79,000. Medications cannot work if they are unaffordable.

“Now it’s time for the Senate to act. AARP urges the Senate to pass the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act. The President and Congress will need to work together to get this done. Americans are desperate for relief from high prescription drug prices.”

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