Rosen, Cornyn Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Lower Out-Of-Pocket Prescription Drug Costs for Seniors

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced a bipartisan bill to reduce prescription drug costs for seniors. The Reducing Drug Prices for Seniors Act would directly reduce out-of-pocket costs by requiring that prescription drug coinsurance payments for seniors on Medicare be determined based on the lower net price of the medication as opposed to the higher list price. Currently, coinsurance payments that seniors pay are based on a percentage of the drug companies’ list prices, which are more expensive than the prices that insurance companies pay after negotiations. This means that what seniors pay is calculated on a higher price than what the insurance company pays, resulting in higher drug costs for seniors. 

For example, if a senior has a 50 percent coinsurance and their medication’s list price is $200, they currently pay $100 out-of-pocket at the pharmacy – even if the insurance company only paid $150 for the medication. This bipartisan legislation would make it so that, in this example, the senior ends up only paying $75.

“No Nevadan should have to break the bank to pay for their life-saving medication,” said Senator Rosen. “That’s why I’m introducing bipartisan legislation to lower out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs for Nevada seniors, and reduce the amount of money they have to pay at the pharmacy counter. I’ll keep working across the aisle to provide more breathing room for families in our state.”

“Countless seniors in Texas face challenges with high out-of-pocket prescription drug costs,” said Senator Cornyn. “I am proud to support the Reducing Drug Prices for Seniors Act, which aims to ease this financial burden by lowering costs and improving access to potentially life-saving medications.”

“The Reducing Drug Prices for Seniors Act would directly lower the out-of-pocket cost of prescription drugs for seniors, putting more money back in their wallets,” said Robin Strongin, Health Policy Director for the National Consumers League. “It’s an issue of fairness for consumers, and we commend Senators Rosen and Cornyn for introducing this bipartisan legislation.”

“For many years, the Alliance for Transparent and Affordable Prescriptions has identified reduced out-of-pocket costs for patients as a key goal for any reform of the pharmacy benefit manager industry,” said Angus Worthing, MD, FACP, FACR, President of the Alliance for Transparent and Affordable Prescriptions Action Network. “The Reducing Drug Prices for Seniors Act would accomplish exactly that: immediate savings at the pharmacy counter for patients who rely on Medicare. By requiring that coinsurances be based on the net price of a medication, the bill would ensure that Medicare beneficiaries will directly benefit from the negotiations between pharmacy benefit managers and drug companies. On behalf of the many patients and clinicians we represent, we thank Senator Rosen and Senator Cornyn for championing this critical patient protection.” 

“This bill lowers out-of-pocket costs and makes prescription drugs more affordable for seniors,” said Leslie Dach, Chair of Protect Our Care. “Senator Rosen was a leader on passing the Inflation Reduction Act to lower drug costs for seniors and giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices, and she is dedicated to continuing the fight to lower drug prices and health care costs. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, Americans are experiencing historic progress in lowering drug prices, and today marks another step in the right direction so seniors can access lifesaving drugs at an affordable cost.”

“It is not only our societal obligation, but also our moral obligation to care and provide for the vulnerable in our community, and that includes many senior citizens,” said Alexis Hill, Chair of the Washoe County Board. “The Reducing Drug Prices for Seniors Act is a substantial step in providing a better quality of life and more affordable access to essential medications for our seniors. I applaud Senators Rosen and Cornyn for making this happen.”

In addition to Protect Our Care, the Alliance for Transparent and Affordable Prescriptions Actions Network, the National Consumers League, and Washoe County Board Chair Alexis Hill, this bipartisan bill is endorsed by a broad array of national and Nevada organizations, including Age Friendly Reno, Age and Dementia Friendly Winnemucca, Alliance for Aging Research, Arthritis Foundation, Coalition of State Rheumatology Organizations, Lupus Foundation of America, Nevada Cancer Coalition, Neighbor Network of Northern Nevada, Pleasant Senior Center, Sanford Center for Aging, Seniors in Service, and UnidosUS.

Senator Rosen has been a leader in fighting to lower prescription drug costs. She announced that starting this year, Nevada seniors will have their annual out-of-pocket costs for brand-name prescription drugs effectively capped at $3,300 a year as a result of the legislation she helped pass. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, Senator Rosen helped lower prescription drug costs for seniors, lower health care premiums, and cap the costs of insulin at $35/month per prescription. She also joined Senate colleagues in filing an amicus brief urging a federal court to uphold the constitutionality of the law. Last Congress, Senator Rosen introduced the bipartisan Advancing Affordable Medicines for Families Act to examine the impact that nonprofit generic drug companies would have on lowering drug costs, addressing drug shortages, and accelerating the development of new drugs, which became law in 2022.