HARRISBURG, Pa., July 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- AARP Pennsylvania State Director Bill Johnston-Walsh issued the following statement today following the U.S. Senate Finance Committee's 19-9 bipartisan vote in favor of the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act of 2019:
"On behalf of our 1.8 million members, AARP Pennsylvania thanks Senator Bob Casey for voting for the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act yesterday in committee. We commend the Senate Finance Committee for its strong bipartisan work to help seniors and all Americans, who pay the highest drug prices in the world.
AARP Pennsylvania is also disappointed in Senator Toomey's vote against the bill. We strongly encourage Senator Toomey to reconsider his 'no' vote as this legislation moves to the Senate floor.
The time is now for legislation to rein in drug prices. The average annual cost of prescription drug treatment increased 57.8% between 2012 and 2017, while the annual income for Pennsylvanians only increased 10.4%. High drug prices disproportionately hurt older Americans, particularly Medicare Part D enrollees who take an average of 4.5 prescription medications each month.
In addition, most Medicare beneficiaries live on fixed incomes, with an average annual income of just over $26,000. At the same time, the average annual price for a single specialty drug used on a chronic basis is now an astounding $79,000. Medications are simply not affordable when their prices exceed a person's annual income. Importantly, the bill voted out of committee yesterday includes an out-of-pocket cap on prescription drugs for seniors in Medicare Part D and cracks down on drugmakers that raise prices higher than the rate of inflation. AARP also supported an amendment offered in committee to allow Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices, but that amendment was not adopted.
AARP Pennsylvania is deeply committed to winning this fight on behalf of our members and all Americans. We stand with senators who are committed to lowering drug prices and are working to advance this important bill."
AARP has 1.8 million members in Pennsylvania. Follow AARP Pennsylvania on Facebook at AARPPA and on Twitter @AARPPA.
AARP is the nation's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.
Steve Gardner, AARP PA
(717) 237-6481 or Sgardner@aarp.org
Jacklyn Isasi, AARP PA
(267) 825-9928 or Jisasi@aarp.org
SOURCE AARP Pennsylvania
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