Today, the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 987, the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act. This omnibus bill tackles rising prescription drug prices, counters the GOP sabotage of the Affordable Care Act, and reverses the Trump administration’s final rule promoting short-term, limited duration insurance plans (junk plans). Together, these measures will ensure Americans can access comprehensive, affordable healthcare.
“This package will preserve central facets of the ACA—including protections for patients with preexisting conditions,” said Rep. Shalala. “In Florida, the Legislature recently passed a bill to expand junk plans that unfortunately will leave far too many members of our community with skimpy health plans that lack coverage for the most basic conditions. It is consumer fraud. I’m proud to join my colleagues in the House in voting to protect patients and the ACA.”
In addition to reversing the Trump administration’s final rule on junk plans, the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act encourages generic drug competition. The bill contains a provision to prohibit “pay for delay” agreements, by which brand-name drug manufacturers pay generic manufacturers to delay bringing generic equivalents of brand-name drugs to the market. These agreements prevent consumers from accessing affordable medications in a timely manner.
“Inflated prescription drug prices hit our most vulnerable communities hardest. It is long past time for us to take action to bring these costs down,” said Shalala.
Other provisions in the bill include extending funds for states to establish their own health insurance marketplaces, limiting generic drug marketing exclusivity, and reversing the Trump administration’s decision to slash consumer outreach funding for enrollment in the federal marketplace.