Radical resolution would harm future of life-saving disease cures

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Washington, December 12, 2019 | comments

By Congressman Rick W. Allen (GA-12)
December 11, 2019
https://bit.ly/2RRSfPr

It’s a special time of year, as Americans all across the country prepare for the holidays and carefully craft their wish lists. For some, the perfect present comes wrapped in a bow. For others, the greatest gift cannot be put into a box – the gift of life.

This holiday season, let’s remember the mothers, fathers, sons and daughters who are eagerly waiting for life-saving cures.

Thankfully, our nation is blessed to have the best medical minds in the world who work every day to research and develop life-saving drugs, with new cures being developed even right now.

We are on the cusp of developing a new treatment that would delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease – a disease that affects millions of Americans, particularly our nation’s seniors. Not only would this treatment help so many families, it would reduce the total cost of care immediately and save billions in taxpayer dollars.

We must continue to help our fellow Americans by supporting innovation and investing in research and development, so we can get families access to life-saving cures. I’m proud that Georgia’s 12th District is a growing research hub, with Augusta University and Georgia Southern University having been awarded more than $100 million in federal National Institute of Health (NIH) grants in the past several years.

However, the promise of future life-saving cures is facing its greatest threat – otherwise known as House Resolution 3 – the Fewer Cures and More Government Price Control Act. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to jam her radical, partisan prescription drug plan through the legislative process, with a vote expected this week.

Not only would this bill harm innovation and research, it would eliminate choice and competition – and history shows what happens when government interferes with markets. Countries that have adopted similar drug-pricing systems as proposed under this legislation have experienced a decrease in access to innovative new medicines, increased wait times for treatment and supply shortages for in-demand drugs.

According to the White House Council of Economic Advisers, under H.R. 3, as many as 100 fewer drugs could be prevented from entering the U.S. market over the next decade. The thought of millions of Americans losing access to life-saving drugs is chilling – and Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats would be to blame.

While this bill is being pushed under the guise of lowering drug prices, there is no guarantee it would. Let’s not forget that the last time Speaker Pelosi brought forward health care legislation and rushed it through the House, our premiums doubled, our deductibles skyrocketed and choices diminished.

Speaker Pelosi’s bill could also have far-reaching economic consequences that would negatively affect jobs, the economy and trade. In the United States, the pharmaceutical industry employs more than 800,000 workers and supports an estimated 4 million jobs.

I know this firsthand. Right in my district, health care researchers are transforming patient care and creating local jobs at the same time. We need to unleash innovation and job creation, not stifle it.

During this Congress, House and Senate Committees have been able to work together on bipartisan bills to address the cost and transparency of prescription drugs. Two of these bills have become law, and others are awaiting further action in both chambers. So why is Speaker Pelosi pushing a socialist drug pricing scheme that was drafted in secret, without member input?

If Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats are serious about lowering drug prices, they should work with Republicans and President Trump on bipartisan legislation. In fact, we have a solution to get this done. This week, Republicans introduced H.R. 19, the Lower Costs, More Cures Act, which I am proud to cosponsor.

Under this legislation, innovation is encouraged, low-cost options are promoted, and drug companies are curbed from gaming the system. It also increases transparency so that no patient feels uncertain at the pharmacy counter. This includes capping the cost of insulin and out-of-pocket expenses for seniors in the Medicare Part D Program.

This holiday season, let’s give the gift of bipartisanship by working on legislation such as the Lower Costs, More Cures Act. Only then can we help families access reliable and affordable life-saving cures.

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