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Lowering Drug Costs for American Families Act Explainer

It’s Time to Lower Drug Prices for Everyone in America

In 2024, CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), the government agency that runs Medicare, is implementing the historic Medicare negotiations provisions of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). 

The IRA lowers prescription drug costs for seniors and people with disabilities by limiting what patients can be charged out of pocket (out-of-pocket caps), penalizing drug corporations that raise their prices faster than inflation (inflationary caps) and, for the first time, requiring that drug corporations negotiate prices for the most expensive medicines in Medicare rather than setting prices unilaterally. Millions of Medicare patients will save billions over the coming decade thanks to the new law, but the fight for affordable medicines is far from over.

In mid-2023, leading  House Democrats introduced  the Lowering Drug Costs for American Families Act (HR 4595), to extend these IRA eforms to millions more people with other kinds of health coverage.

“The Lowering Drug Costs for American Families Act will build on this progress by providing those same lower negotiated prices to all Americans who are covered by private health plans. It also protects consumers against unfair price hikes and increases the number of drugs Medicare can negotiate on each year, meaning lower prices on more drugs sooner..”

Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Pallone (D-NJ), Lead Sponsor

Prescription drug affordability is a widespread problem that  leads to skipping doses, rationing medicine, negative health consequences and medical debt:

  • Six in 10 Americans report taking at least one prescription. 
  • Over a quarter (28%) of Americans under 65 years old who take prescriptions have trouble affording them. 
  • A third (33%) of Americans under age 29 also have trouble.  
  • Americans pay over 2.5 more times for brand name prescription drugs than people in other countries pay for the same medicines. 

The Lower Drug Cost for American Families Act would make medicines more affordable, save employers and tax-payers money, and rein in the corporate price-gouging that forces many people to go without prescriptions they need. 

Urge your representative to join as a sponsor of the bill today

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Download a PDF of this resource here.

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