McBath amendment and MORE Health Education Act were included in the bill.
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) voted to pass H.R 987, the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act, a major piece of legislation that addresses two top concerns of the American people – lowering prescription drug prices and defending vital protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The legislation included an amendment introduced by McBath that would ensure that future pharmacists and those in the workforce are provided with materials regarding generic drugs and biosimilar biological products. It also included the MORE Health Education Act that McBath introduced earlier this year.
“I have heard from many of my constituents that they are worried about their health care. They are worried about whether or not they can afford their prescription drugs. They are worried because they have a pre-existing condition. More than 300,000 residents of the Sixth District have a pre-exiting condition.” said Rep. McBath. “I am worried about their health care. That is why it is so important that H.R. 987 was passed out of the House tonight. This bill combines key pieces of legislation that lower drug costs, strengthen health care, reverse the Administration’s sabotage, and rescinds the Administration’s junk plan rule.”
McBath’s amendment to H.R 987 was unanimously agreed to – it would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Education make every effort necessary to ensuring appropriate outreach to institutions of higher education to ensure that students and faculty at schools of pharmacy are provided with appropriate materials regarding generic drugs and biosimilar biological products. This will allow for students and faculty to have material on how generic drugs and biosimilar biological products are equivalent or like brand-name drugs.
The legislation that was passed today includes language from the MORE Health Education Act – a bill Rep. McBath introduced with Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL), Kathy Castor (FL-14), and Dan Kildee (MI-5), in February. The legislation would reverse funding cuts to Affordable Care Act education, marketing, and outreach efforts and would assist providers and navigators in educating Americans about open enrollment dates, coverage options, and financial support available to the public.
This bipartisan omnibus bill includes three bills to lower prescription drug costs by helping lower-priced generic drugs get to market faster and four measures to reinforce the protections for people with pre-existing conditions and expand enrollment in quality, affordable coverage to more Americans. This bipartisan package invests most of the savings created by the bills promoting generic competition into strengthening our health care system by increasing enrollment in quality coverage and helping interested states set up their own state-based marketplaces, which outperform the Federal marketplace.
The bipartisan legislative package includes the following three key drug pricing measures to remove barriers to lower-priced generic drugs getting to market and competing with brand-name drugs, thereby creating significant savings for consumers:
- The CREATES Act: Currently, certain brand-name manufacturers use tactics to withhold or delay generic manufacturers getting from them the brand drug samples they need to develop their generic products. This bill establishes a process by which generic manufacturers are able to obtain sufficient quantities of the brand drug samples, thereby blocking these delaying tactics.
- The Protecting Consumer Access to Generic Drugs Act: Currently, brand-name drug manufacturers can enter into a “pay-for-delay” agreement in which the brand-name manufacturer pays the generic manufacturer to delay bringing a generic equivalent to market, significantly hurting consumers. This bill makes these “pay-for-delay” agreements illegal.
- The BLOCKING Act: Currently, the first generic applicant to FDA is granted 180 days of market exclusivity, but some generics then fail to move the product to market, called “parking” – thereby blocking other generics from applying to FDA. This bill allows generics to get to market earlier by changing the rules on “parking.”
The bipartisan legislative package also includes the following four measures to improve our health care system by revoking the Junk Plan rule, thereby reinforcing protections for pre-existing conditions; expanding the number of individuals with quality, affordable coverage; and helping more states create state-based marketplaces:
- The SAVE Act: This bipartisan bill appropriates $200 million to assist interested states in creating their own state-based marketplaces. State-based marketplaces are outperforming the Federal marketplace, achieving lower premiums and higher enrollment. This bill empowers states to implement new approaches that lower costs and expand coverage for American families, thereby improving our health care system.
- The MORE Health Education Act & The ENROLL Act: These bills, containing provisions similar to provisions in the bipartisan Alexander-Murray proposal put forward in the Senate in the last Congress, restore critical funding for marketplace consumer outreach and enrollment education activities, as well as critical funding for the Navigator program, both of which the Trump Administration has slashed. CBO estimates this funding will result in about 500,000 additional enrollees in nongroup quality, affordable coverage and Medicaid each year over the next 10 years.
- Rescinding the Trump Administration’s Devastating Junk Plan Rule: This bill reinforces the protections for people with pre-existing conditions by revoking the Trump Administration’s rule that promotes the sale of junk plans, which discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and do not cover essential benefits. A recent KFF poll finds that, by 53% to 37%, Republicans oppose junk plans.