WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL-MN) along with more than two dozen of her colleagues in the House and Senate, introduced sweeping reforms Jan. 10 that they say would enhance the U.S. healthcare system and dramatically reduce prescription drug prices in the country.
The plan to reduce the cost of prescription drugs includes three bills – the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act, which would stop drug companies from using their monopoly power to prevent more affordable, generic alternatives from coming to the market, the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act, which would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D and the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act, which would allow patients, pharmacists and wholesalers to import, affordable medicine from Canada and other major countries.
“I believe that healthcare is a basic human right,” Omar said. “And the right to healthcare extends to being able to access prescription drugs at an affordable price. Americans pay the highest prices to access drugs in the world – including three times the price of drugs in Great Britain alone. Instead of taking donations from the pharmaceutical industry, we need to hold them accountable for taking advantage of the American people.”
Omar cited specific examples as to how high drug prices are affecting everyday Americans.
“It is a mark of shame that in the wealthiest country in the world people are dying because they can’t afford lifesaving medicine. That includes Alec Holt-Smith, a Twin Cities resident who passed away after he couldn’t afford enough insulin,” said Omar. “In America, no one should die because they can’t afford healthcare.”
The 5th District representative said the proposed reforms are just the first step to healthcare reform.
“I will fight for a Medicare for all single-payer healthcare system to guarantee quality healthcare for all Americans,” said Omar. “It is unacceptable that millions of people are unable to seek care because they live without or cannot afford insurance.”