Congressional Corner: Capping Drug Costs Could Negatively Impact Rural Health Care Systems

Congressional Corner: Capping Drug Costs Could Negatively Impact Rural Health Care Systems

Representative Jim Baird (IN-4)

Americans from all walks of life agree, drug pricing is out of control.  The most adversely impacted by the rising costs are over the age of 65.  We must address the issue of affordable drug costs.  In a time when it seems every significant issue is used to play politics; we must ensure that our seniors get the healthcare they deserve.  This should and can be a bipartisan effort for Congress.  Many of my colleagues across the aisle agree we can improve affordability of prescription drugs through a variety of approaches.

In Indiana’s 4th Congressional District I hear from constituents who are having to make tough decisions on which medicine to buy on any given week.  Many seniors are living on fixed incomes and yet they are falling prey to a broken system that costs too much and underdelivers.  Unfortunately, H.R. 3, a current proposal in the House of Representatives from my colleagues across the aisle is not the answer.  This partisan legislation is a one-size-fits-all, top-down, government-run approach to health care.  In order to “reduce” prices, this legislation would place a cap on the maximum price, effectively ensuring that maximum price will be charged for drugs in Medicare Parts B and D.

This provision, which is a core part of the legislation, will lead to rural physicians, already operating on thin margins, having to close their practice or sell to a hospital network.  Both outcomes will result in seniors being forced into expensive hospital care that in rural areas may not even be available.  Additionally, this legislation would hurt innovation; capped prices mean less money going towards research and thus fewer new cures.  H.R. 3 allows the government to completely set pricing, resulting in a level of control that could be catastrophic.

Comprehensive reform is needed, and we can begin this process by passing meaningful legislation that will positively impact the livelihood of our seniors.  Let’s not delay.  There is tremendous support for legislation that helps get generic drugs to the market quicker, which will result in affordable pricing without jeopardizing the resources needed for costly innovative and research.  We can meaningfully address this issue without giving federal government more power over the market.




The opinions expressed in “Congressional Corner” reflect the views of the writer and are not necessarily those of TSCL.