July 11, 2018

Lawmakers Introduce Legislation to Cap Prescription Drug Copays

Bicameral Bill Would Place Monthly Limit on Out-of-Pocket Costs for Families

Bill Text (PDF) | One-Pager (PDF)

Washington, DC - Today, United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Patty Murray (D-Wash.), along with Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), introduced the bicameral Capping Prescription Costs Act of 2018 to tackle the problem of high drug costs that families face by placing a monthly cap on their out-of-pocket drug costs. The legislation comes as more than a quarter of Americans taking prescription drugs struggle to afford the costs of their medicine.

"With prescription drug prices soaring over the past decade, it is time we took real action to protect families from out-of-pocket costs," said Senator Warren.  "I'm proud to partner with my colleagues on a bill to tackle this piece of the drug pricing problem."

"We have to do more to lower the cost of prescription drugs," Senator Nelson said. "As prices continue to rise, more and more Floridians are finding it difficult to afford the cost of the medications they need. This bill will help make prescription drugs more affordable for Florida families."

"More and more families are facing sky-high out-of-pocket costs for their prescription drugs, and they can't keep waiting for the president to follow through on his promises," Senator Wyden said. "This bill ensures that families continue to have their health without risking financial hardship. This is one of many steps that needs to be taken to stop soaring drug prices, especially while the Trump Administration offers only their "hope" that drug companies will lower them on their own."

"Patients across the country are struggling with skyrocketing drug prices, and President Trump's empty promises and health care sabotage are only making it worse," said Senator Murray. "This bill is a straightforward step that would make an immediate difference for our nation's families by helping them afford the medicine they need to stay healthy-and I hope Senators on both sides of the aisle will join us in supporting it."

"I hear from constituents every week who are concerned about the rising cost of prescription drugs, leaving them wondering how they will afford their medications," said Congresswoman Rosen. "This legislation will help rein in prices for many Nevadans by capping out-of-pocket prescription drug copay costs for anyone on the exchange. I'm proud to introduce this bill in the House that will help us hold big pharmaceutical companies accountable and bring down the cost of prescription drugs for Nevada's hardworking families."

The skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs is one of the most critical issues facing American families.  According to recent government estimates, prescription drug spending is projected to increase faster than many other categories of major health expenditures-due in large part to increases in the prices of these drugs.  Individuals with life-threatening or chronic conditions that require high-cost specialty drugs - conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, hepatitis or HIV/AIDS - may face thousands of dollars a month in out-of-pocket costs.

The Capping Prescription Costs Act of 2018 takes meaningful steps to address the problem of high drug costs by placing a monthly limit on what consumers pay in out of-pocket drug costs.  The legislation caps prescription drug copays at $250 per month for individuals and $500 per month for families.  The bill, which applies to all group health plans and individual market plans, also ensures that individuals and families with high prescription drug costs are protected and can access necessary medications. 

The Capping Prescription Costs Act of 2018 is supported by Families USA, Community Catalyst, and Public Citizen.