30 Jul **VIDEO INCLUDED** Nevadans Urge Congress to Take Action on Lower Drug Prices and Closing Coverage Gap on 56th Anniversary of Medicaid and Medicare
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 30, 2021
Contact: Will Pregman, firstname.lastname@example.org, 702.752.0656
LAS VEGAS, NV – Nevada advocates and patients today celebrated the 56th anniversary of Medicaid and Medicare, the nation’s largest health programs, and to urge long-overdue action to lower drug prices and to close the Medicaid coverage gap as part of the upcoming reconciliation package in Congress.
Over 140 million people in the United States depend on Medicare and Medicaid, including 544,263 Medicare enrollees and 768,740 Medicaid enrollees in Nevada.
Improvements to both programs that would benefit patients, families, and the economy are expected in the upcoming Congressional reconciliation package that proposes a slew of policies that will help the nation “build back better” even as many states continue to struggle with rising cases of COVID and sluggish economic recovery following the first year of the pandemic.
Advocates are urging Congress to support the inclusion of prescription drug reforms like allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices, capping out of pocket costs for seniors in Medicare and stopping drug corporations from raising the price of medicines anytime they want. Polls show that 80 percent of adults believe prescription drugs are unreasonably expensive and nearly 90 percent of adults support allowing the government to negotiate drug prices.
A study from West Health projected that the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, a key proposal in Congress, would not only lower drug prices for Medicare recipients, but also benefit people with private insurance. It would save employers $256 billion between 2023 to 2029, including a reduction of $61 billion in employees’ share of premiums and cost sharing. Enrollees in Affordable Care Act marketplaces would save $36 billion in premiums and cost sharing over the same time period.
“Negotiating prices for prescriptions and extending those lower prices to people with private insurance is common sense,” said Brenda Rodriguez, Storybank Organizer with Battle Born Progress. “As long as drug corporations have monopoly power to set prices without any accountability for their price-gouging, they will always put profits over people. Too many Nevadans struggle with affording the medications they need to survive. Our chronic drug affordability crisis is just as much a part of infrastructure as trains or highways. Many other government programs already negotiate, and as a result, pay half of what Medicare pays for medicines. It’s long past time to do the same in Medicare and make medicines more affordable for those that need them.”
In addition to drug reforms, the $3.5 trillion dollar reconciliation package would finally address the Medicaid coverage gap that exists for millions of people in the dozen states that have persistently refused to fully implement the Affordable Care Act. These people have been locked out of coverage for the last decade, despite the positive impact of Medicaid on health outcomes and economic security and proven success in other states. Two thirds of people in the coverage gap are low income workers and and two thirds are people of color.
The Medicaid Saves Lives Act would provide a federal alternative for people in non-Medicaid expansion states to access coverage through the federal government. Fortunately, Nevada already expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in 2014.
Notes: Spokespeople in Spanish or English are available for individual interviews.
About Battle Born Progress: Battle Born Progress, through strategic communication efforts, empowers, engages and mobilizes Nevada voters to build a state where everyone has a fair opportunity to succeed. We support, engage, and mobilize the progressive community through bold leadership, strategic communications, accountability, and education. We are on the cutting edge of new media and are the go-to source for progressive issues and advocacy for traditional media. Learn more at https://battlebornprogress.org/.