​Congressman Kim Votes to Lower Prescription Drug Costs, Expand Medicare Benefits for Dental, Vision and Hearing

December 12, 2019
Press Release

Congressman Kim Votes to Lower Prescription Drug Costs,
Expand Medicare Benefits for Dental, Vision and Hearing

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) voted to pass H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which would lower prescription drug costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for certain drugs, creates a $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for people on Medicare, and expands Medicare benefits to cover dental, vision, and hearing.

“Over the past year, I’ve held fifteen town halls across Burlington and Ocean Counties, and the number one issue I hear about is the cost of prescription drugs and health care,” said Congressman Kim. “I’m proud to have passed this critical legislation that would help the thousands in our state that not only suffer from ailments like diabetes and cancer, but struggle to afford the treatments they need for a healthy life."

The legislation included a provision from a bill introduced by Congressman Kim, H.R. 4671, the Helping Seniors Afford Health Care Act, which would expand access to affordable care to an estimated 3.5 million seniors by increasing the income eligibility levels for Medicare recipients to qualify for Medicare Savings Programs. Medicare Savings Programs provide financial assistance to help seniors who qualify based on income level, pay for Medicare premiums, copayments, prescription drug costs and other health expenses.

In addition to lowering prescription drug prices through negotiated costs, H.R. 3 would also save taxpayers an estimated $500 billion over the next decade. Those savings would be used to provide new funds for next-generation cures, as well as funding to combat the opioid and addiction crisis.

“We applaud Congressman Kim and his colleagues who supported the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act today,” said Evelyn Liebman, AARP New Jersey’s Director of Advocacy. “In 2017, nearly one in four New Jersey residents stopped taking medication as prescribed due to cost. The Lower Drug Costs Now Act allows Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, which is exactly the kind of meaningful action we need to address skyrocketing prescription prices.”

While H.R. 3 would help millions across the country, the impact on New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District would be substantial. Across Burlington and Ocean County, more than 120,000 people are enrolled in Medicare Part D and stand to see significant savings.

According to a recent House report, 26,000 of those Medicare beneficiaries suffer from diabetes, and could see the cost of some insulin products lowered by more than 75 percent.