183 Republicans vote against making prescription drugs cheaper


Republicans also rejected provisions aimed at strengthening protections for people with preexisting conditions.

House Democrats overcame massive opposition from Republicans to pass a bill aimed at reining in prescription drug costs and protecting people with preexisting conditions. The measure, the MORE Health Education Act, passed Thursday evening by a 234-183 vote, with all the no votes coming from Republicans.

Only five Republicans sided with all the chamber's Democrats in supporting the bill.

"We've seen repeated and ongoing attempts by President Trump and Congressional Republicans to sabotage the Affordable Care Act and threaten access to care for families across the country," Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH) told Shareblue Media. In response, she said Democrats are "advancing legislation to lower the costs of care and prescription drugs while at the same time stabilizing our health care system."

The bill Democrats supported contains a variety of measures aimed at two broad goals: lowering prescription drug costs and stopping some of Trump's attempts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

To address prescription drug costs, the bill would restrict the ability of generic drug manufacturers from blocking competitors, thus cracking down on anticompetitive behavior by pharmaceutical companies.

The bill also contains several provisions to roll back attempts of the Trump administration to push junk health insurance plans to the general public. These plans, which Trump and Republicans champion, do not contain the protections for people with preexisting conditions enshrined in the ACA, such as ensuring costs are not higher and that people with preexisting conditions cannot be denied health insurance.

Further, the bill would add $100 million in funding for the program that helps people sign up for health insurance through the ACA, as well as restore funding for marketing and outreach so more people are aware of the health care options under the ACA.

"People in New Hampshire and across the country made clear in 2018 that they want Congress to work to improve our health care system and abandon the partisan efforts to eliminate the law," Kuster said.

"Yet, the Trump Administration is in court trying to eliminate the Affordable Care Act in its entirety," Kuster said, referring to Trump's attempt to destroy the ACA. "Our efforts are gaining support from some Republicans in the House and it's time for Senator McConnell to put the American people ahead of his partisan agenda and bring our bills up for a vote," she added.

As Democrats lined up to support the health care measure, Republicans spent their time complaining to reporters about the vote.

"I'm not very happy at all," Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) whined to Politico about Democrats' decision to address both prescription drug costs and Trump's ACA sabotage in the same bill. "They know that we're not going to be able to support this, and for them to put that in there I think is just poor policy," Carter added.

Republicans claim to be in favor of reducing prescription drug costs, but their vote against the measure shows they care more about siding with Trump's efforts to sabotage the health care of millions of Americans.

Thursday's vote marks the first time Republicans have opposed addressing prescription drug costs, and the third time in the past six weeks Republicans voted against the interests of people with preexisting conditions.

Like Trump, Republicans in Congress refuse to take actions to help address the pressing health care needs facing millions of Americans.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.