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As I travel across Northeast Iowa on my 20-county tours, I consistently hear about the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, particularly insulin. Iowans deserve accessible health care they can depend upon and afford — folks shouldn’t have to choose between buying their groceries and medications they need. And, if we’ve learned anything from the COVID-19 pandemic and the success of Operation Warp Speed, it is that unlocking American innovation saves lives.

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Congress should work in a bipartisan way to bring down the cost of prescription drugs and help deliver more treatment options to those who are sick. From diabetics who cannot afford to take their daily insulin to those who are suffering from rare diseases, Americans from all walks of life are waiting on Congress for a solution and hoping politics won’t get in the way of one. That is why I support the Lower Costs, More Cures Act. This legislation — made up of bipartisan provisions — promotes low-cost options for Americans, stops drug companies from taking advantage of the system, and will get new cures out of the lab and into patients’ hands.

So many working families and older Americans on fixed incomes cannot afford the medications they need — it’s wrong, and Congress needs to pass the Lower Costs, More Cures Act to ease this financial and emotional burden. By incentivizing competition in the marketplace and closing loopholes pharmaceutical companies and middlemen use to artificially drive up prices, Americans will finally have more options and pay less for prescription drugs. Additionally, this bill works to remove any surprises at the pharmacy counter by making information about drug costs more readily available — if you’re expecting a prescription to cost $30, you shouldn’t be blindsided by a $300 charge.

This legislation includes multiple provisions that target the exorbitant cost of insulin, medication that at least nine million diabetics across the United States need daily to survive. The cost of a vial of insulin has sharply increased over the past decade — I’ve heard from many diabetic Iowans who are forced to ration doses or have foregone other basic needs to fill their prescription. To address this, the legislation provides the first ever out-of-pocket cap on insulin for seniors in the Medicare Part D program and allows insurers to cover additional costs for those in high-deductible health plans. Enacting these bipartisan provisions is even more important now that the Biden Administration paused a Trump-era policy that required community health centers — that primarily serve rural communities — to provide patients insulin at a discounted rate.

Our health care system should be patient-centered. We have to do more not only to make every day medications more affordable, but to make groundbreaking treatments more accessible. American scientists are at the forefront of medical research. This ingenuity is what delivered three safe and effective American COVID-19 vaccines to the market in under one year. The Lower Costs, More Cures Act will channel this same innovation to make other lifesaving treatments available and provide hope to those struggling with disease and illness. Research breakthroughs can’t become a cure until Americans can access them.

While we may not agree on much in Washington right now, we should focus on the polices we do agree on — like the 40 bipartisan provisions that make up the Lower Costs, More Cures Act that will bring down the cost of medication like insulin and usher more lifesaving treatments to the market. Americans are relying on us to put aside our differences and pursue bipartisan solutions to improve our health care system and put patients first.

This piece originally appeared in The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier on 2/20/2022.

Author: Ashley Hinson

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