Richmond, Va. — Following President Biden’s speech to a joint session of Congress outlining his new American Families Plan, Ladelle McWhorter, chairperson of Virginia Organizing, issued the following statement in response to the omission of drug pricing reforms in the plan:
“President Biden outlined a plan that includes many of the key priorities and policies that will really help Virginians take the next step toward meaningful health and economic recovery from COVID. Combined with his American Jobs Plan that invests in infrastructure and good jobs, and the Made in America Tax Plan to finally get the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes, this latest proposal would enable everyone to build back better and create a fairer economy for everyone.
The Biden Administration has a once in a generation opportunity to finally realize the vision of making health care a right in this country, not just a privilege for those who can afford it. But President Biden must go further in this proposal to do it.
The United States cannot achieve universal, affordable health care for everyone without lowering drug prices that are a barrier to life-saving medicines even when patients have insurance. Congress has already taken an important step by introducing the Lower Drug Costs Now Act. This legislation would finally allow Medicare to directly negotiate prices on behalf of beneficiaries for the first time, saving taxpayers more than $450 billion that could be reinvested to provide coverage to people who have no access or who lack services. That savings could help to finally close the coverage gap for the 3-4 million people who still have no coverage by ensuring that everyone—no matter what state they live in or how much money they have—can get affordable coverage.
We urge President Biden to end the drug corporations’ relentless price gouging by including H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Act Now, in his proposal and to end corporate tax loopholes that reward the industry for putting profits over patients. There has never been a better time to ensure everyone has affordable health care and medicines they can count on—and that the rich and corporations pay their fair share to support those investments. Virginians will be watching to see if the Biden Administration keeps those promises.”
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