Time for the US Senate to Get Out of the Way of Lowering Prescription Drug Costs

Prescription drug prices are too damn high. You know it and you know something needs to be done about it. People often wonder why the same pill can cost exponentially more in North Dakota than the same pill in neighboring Canada. Our laws need reform and the U.S. Senate needs to get out of the way of HR 3 and pass it before May.

Many of you reading this remember the State of the Union. At the very least, you remember the theatrics of it. Some reading this may even remember being upset at Congressional women wearing white holding up three fingers when the President talked about lowering prescription drug prices. At least this time, Kevin Cramer didn’t attempt to share his fashion advice on women wearing white. The act was to highlight the House passed HR 3 and it is sitting in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk.

AARP is working to get something done about prescription drug prices. North Dakota State Director Josh Askvig and the Vice President of the federal health and family group in AARP’s government affairs Megan O’Reilly discussed their work on my KFGO radio show, “Afternoons Live with Tyler Axness.” You can listen to their comments below.

AARP’S JOSH ASKVIG AND MEGAN O’REILLY DISCUSS PRESCRIPTION DRUG LEGISLATION

The facts AARP provided are maddening. In ND, the average annual cost of prescription drugs increased 57.8% between 2012 and 2017. The annual income for North Dakotans only increased 6.7% over that same time frame. Not angry yet? Consider this. In 2017, 31% of North Dakota residents stopped taking medication as prescribed due to cost. Keep in mind, these aren’t people skipping an Aspirin because of a headache. These are medications prescribed by a doctor. Many of the prescriptions are life saving and necessary.

Outraged now? Consider doing something about it. Contact your lawmaker. Big Pharma has a strong, well-funded, lobbying arm not only in Congress but in places like North Dakota and they’re effective. There are things you can do. In ND, contact the state lawmakers on the interim Health Care Committee as they continue to study what can change on the state level.

In Congress, the U.S. Senate stands in the way of HR3. Many partisan politicians like North Dakota’s Congressman Kelly Armstrong have stated Congress has done nothing but focus on impeachment. He neglects to mention the bills passed through the House. Turns out, Armstrong voted against HR 3. Ask him why. Senators Hoeven and Cramer have enabled McConnell to sit on a variety of legislation in the Senate. They also claim nothing is getting done. Don’t let them do nothing on reforms to lower prescription drug costs.

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