With our nation’s fight over the Affordable Care Act in the rear-view mirror, it’s time for Donald Trump and Congress to focus on a genuinely bipartisan issue: drug prices.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 8 in 10 Americans want to allow the government to negotiate prices for people on Medicare. By the same margin, Americans want to limit the amount drug companies can charge for high-cost drugs that treat illnesses like cancer. Hefty majorities from both parties support these steps.
The energy and urgency on the issue come from the fact that it’s a life or death challenge. Drugs don’t work if patients can’t afford them.
I know this issue firsthand. I have an incurable cancer, and most Tuesdays recently I spent my day receiving a drug cocktail at a price of $13,000 per treatment.
All over America, people are wrestling with high prices. Ken Hyland from Arizona has a chronic condition, and his drug costs $1,000 per month.
“I cannot afford it,” Ken says, “so I’ve had to purchase it through Canada drugs, where it costs just under $300 for a three-month supply of a similar drug. I don’t understand why the same drugs are so expensive for patients in the U.S. when they are so much cheaper right across the border in Canada and in other countries.”
Hearing these voices, elected officials are starting to listen, and remarkably bipartisan action is underway.
An encouraging alliance has formed between Trump and Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) to empower Medicare negotiations with the drug companies to lower prices for patients and taxpayers. Trump says drug companies are “getting away with murder,” and he said in his speech to Congress that “we should bring down the high price of drugs immediately.”