Klobuchar highlighted the urgent need to make prescription drugs more affordable by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices for seniors
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar led a series of floor speeches about how the Build Back Better agenda will lower costs for American families and seniors. In her remarks, Klobuchar highlighted the urgent need to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug costs for the 46 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D, a policy she has championed for more than 15 years.
“Let’s unleash the power of 46 million seniors, get better prices for drugs, push this Build Back Better agenda – which puts people first – and bring down the cost of prescription drugs,” said Klobuchar.
Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that Senators Merkley, Kaine, and I be able to complete our remarks prior to the vote.
So we are all gathered here today, the group of us, to make the real case for passing the Build Back Better agenda. What it really means to people back in our home states, as Senator Whitehouse was just explaining about Rhode Island. And we get a lot of in the minutia here for good reason. We’re fighting a lot of forces. But in the end what I know about this agenda -- from the infrastructure in the bipartisan infrastructure bill to the work we are doing as part of this people first agenda -- it is about putting the people of this country first. Over the pharmaceutical companies, over polluters.
As I see those fires rage in my state, I know we gotta do something about it. As I see people coming to me after years and years and years about the cost of common drugs. Lyrica – you see it advertised on TV all the time, what you might not know is that it has gone up 50 percent in just the last five years. What I do know is the people of this country, overwhelmingly – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – support bringing costs down for families. Support a big middle class tax cut. Support doing something about pharmaceutical prices. And chief among the reforms in this bill when it comes to health care will be allowing Medicare to negotiate directly for less expensive drugs for our seniors. I think 46 million seniors should be able to get a pretty good deal. And I know they could if someone let them do it.
Right now in law, because the pharmaceutical companies lobbied to get it done, they got a ban – a ban – on Medicare negotiating better prices for our seniors. This doesn’t just help our seniors to lift this ban. It helps everyone in America, because this is the single biggest purchaser of drugs, our seniors, because they need help in their later years. They have health issues.
The stories I’ve heard in my state. People like Claire from St. Paul. When the cost of the prescription drug she relied on to manage her arthritis jumped from $60 per month to $1,400 per month, she knew she could no longer afford it. She tried over-the-counter, her arthritis advanced, she could barely hold a fork and a knife.
Or the woman I met who literally was holding the drops of her insulin from day to day to day so she could save it for the next day. That’s how we’re treating seniors in our country?
Let’s unleash the power of 46 million seniors, get better prices for drugs, push this Build Back Better agenda – which puts people first – and bring down the cost of prescription drugs.
Thank you Madam President, I yield the floor to my friend from Oregon.