Sens. Rick Scott (R-FL) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced legislation Tuesday to combat the rising cost of prescription drugs and increase transparency in the health care industry.
Sens. Scott and Hawley introduced the Transparent Drug Pricing Act to increase drug pricing transparency, increase consumer choice, and increase drug pricing fairness.
The legislation arises as President Donald Trump said that Republicans will unveil a “great Healthcare” plan after the 2020 election when Republicans win back the House. Trump reportedly tasked Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Rick Scott (R-FL) to develop a comprehensive healthcare plan.
Although Scott and Hawley’s legislation does not serve as a comprehensive to Trump’s Obamacare replacement, the bill serves as a grand strategy from many freshman Republicans such as Scott, Hawley, and Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) to improve the health care industry by increasing transparency in the health care industry and lowering overall health care costs.
Before joining the world of politics, Scot co-founded the healthcare company Columbia Hospital Corporation, which then merged to form Columbia/HCA. The company runs urgent care clinics, emergency departments, and surgery centers.
“American consumers are facing a crisis of rising drug costs and we can’t wait any longer,” said Scott. “I urge every Senator to put themselves in the shoes of a family or a senior living on a fixed income who’s seen their drug costs triple in just a few years.”
Sen. Scott and Hawley’s legislation would:
- Require that pharmacies inform patients what it would cost to purchase drugs out-of-pocket instead of using their insurance and co-pay. Often times, Americans can pay for drugs at a lower cost out-of-pocket instead of using their insurance plan.
- Stipulates that if the patient were to pay with cash instead of their insurance, the total cost would apply to their health insurance deductible limit.
- Mandates insurance companies to inform patients of the total costs of their prescription drugs 60 days prior to open enrollment, which Scott contends would allow patients to find the best deal for their prescriptions.
- Block drug companies from charging Americans more for prescriptions drugs than they charge in other industrialized nations such as Great Britain, Canada, or Germany. This provision would sunset after five years.
“It’s unfair consumers that patients in other countries get a better deal than here in America, that has to change,” Sen. Scott said.
Hawley said during the press conference Tuesday:
It’s infuriating to watch the big pharma companies abuse American families again and again by charging them outrageous prices for lifesaving medicines. We need to lift the veil of secrecy that surrounds prescription drug pricing. Insurance companies need to be up front about what consumers will pay for prescription drugs and pharmacies need to disclose the lowest price available. It’s common sense.
“The pharmaceutical companies have gotten huge, they’ve gotten powerful, they’ve gotten rich and they are asking consumers to pay more, sometimes hundreds of times more in some cases, 3 to 400 percent more than our European counterparts, that’s just wrong,” the Missouri Republican added.
“In Versailles, Missouri, the cost of a common blood-thinning drug, one of the top 20 most prescribed drugs in America, the cost of that drug is 500 percent more expensive in Versailles, Missouri, than it is in Versailles, France,” Hawley noted.
Sen. Mike Braun told Breitbart News in an interview last week that Republicans need to “force the conversation” of healthcare reform onto the industry’s back, contending that if the industry does not change, Medicare for All will win.
“It’s a rigged system that’s rigged against my state, Rick’s state, and this country and we simply cannot put up with it any longer,” Sen. Hawley added.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.