WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) spoke about Speaker Pelosi’s partisan drug pricing scheme, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and surprise medical billing at The Atlantic’s “The State of Care: The Health Ecosystem.”
Click here or the image above to watch the full video. Photo credit: Ralph Alswang
The American people want – I want – lower drug costs. I mean I look at EpiPen and how we got ripped off…it went from $100 to $175 to $600 and the CEO was making bazillions and the Chairman of the Board made even more and there was no competition… We rewrote the law on the FDA approval process for medical devices in the last Congress that said if there is no competitor to a generic, you go to the head of the line if you’ve got competition. Guess what? We now got a competitor to EpiPen.
This is an exercise in partisan politics, and the American people will suffer as a result. If you want to do something about drug prices, we’re all in, but we’re not going to be all in if we know it’ll result in less innovation.
A bunch of Democrats wrote to the Speaker of the House recently and said please don’t do this. Let’s do bipartisan work here on drug pricing but today, unfortunately and sadly, will not be that day and people will not see progress.
My hope is that we get this out of our system. I know they have to move this bill and get it done so we can get back to real legislating. And tackle the American people’s problems; that’s what they send us here for. They know we have differences in opinion and philosophy, but they really do expect us to put down the political swords and do big things and we’re capable of doing big things. The Energy and Commerce under Republican and Democratic leadership has done big things.
So interestingly enough, there’s about 7 million people in the VA system. They have a very strict formulary and they actually have escape hatches in that formulary so if you want a drug that’s not in the formulary, there’s an appeals process you go through. This bill does not have that.
But let’s talk about negotiation in H.R. 3 for a second. So what it says is you can have 120% – you can go up to 120% of the international price index and then the Secretary can come in anywhere under that. So you just invented a drug and you’re selling it elsewhere. If I understand the way this works, I’m the Secretary and I say that’s great your selling it for 120 bucks in England. I’m only going to pay you $50. I’m not going to do that. Yeah you are, no I’m not. Okay, you’re not, okay then I’m going to start assessing your revenue 65% and within three years, I’m going to go up to 95%. That’s what’s called negotiation Soviet – style, government – run H.R. 3 Pelosi. You think that’s negotiation? I don’t.
Look what we’re doing on surprise medical billing. Frank Pallone and I are joined at the shoulder, hip and ankle on this deal. Private equity firms and others are spending 60 million dollars attacking what we are trying to do. They’re buying practices and taking them out of network, increasing the billable charges by 96%, 1 out of 5 people when they go to an emergency room in America now are getting stuck with a surprise bill…But there are things we can do here to make health care more affordable.