Durbin: Pres. Trump & Republicans Are Threatening Millions Of American Families By Undermining Health Care System

WASHINGTON—In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today slammed President Trump and Senate Republicans on their continued efforts to destabilize and undermine America’s health care system.  Durbin cited the pending lawsuit, Texas v. United States, in which the Trump Administration is seeking to eliminate the entire Affordable Care Act, including important protections for people with pre-existing conditions. 

“Is it any wonder why we are concerned about the lawsuit filed by the Trump Administration, supported by Republican state attorneys general, that would remove the guarantee in the law that says people with pre-existing conditions can have health insurance?” Durbin said.  “Why do Republicans and why does this President still seem determined to lessen health insurance coverage for an American population that is so vulnerable to the high cost of health care?

Durbin also discussed the high cost of prescription drugs and how it drives increases in health insurance premiums.  He called on President Trump to not break his promise and actually work with Democrats to lower the cost of prescription drugs on American patients.  Durbin shared that prices for life-saving insulin have skyrocketed in recent years.  A vial of Eli Lily’s Humalog, which cost $21 in 1996, now costs more than $275.  In Canada, the same drug costs $39 because of laws protecting citizens from price gouging.

“We need to take a step to deal with the issues that people really care about.  Issues that affect their daily lives.  And number one on that list – and they tell us number one on their own list – is the cost of prescription drugs.  Now is the time for this Congress and Senate to act,” Durbin said.  “You see this empty chamber?  It should be filled with members of the Senate debating bills to bring down the high cost of prescription drugs.  Instead, it is silent.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are available here.

 Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

In April, Durbin introduced the bipartisan Reforming Evergreening and Manipulation that Extends Drug Years (REMEDY) Actwhich aims to remove an incentive for brand-name drug makers to amass follow-on patents that shield their drugs from generic competition.  Specifically, it would narrow the FDA’s 30-month stay of drug approval when a generic applicant challenges the patents covering a brand-name drug, so that this 30-month freeze would only apply to a brand-name drug’s patents on the chemical substance, not for secondary patents such as a pill coating or delivery method.

 In March, Durbin introduced the Forcing Limits on Abusive and Tumultuous (FLAT) Drug Prices Act, which aims to prevent pharmaceutical companies from hiking the price of prescription drugs by reducing the government-granted monopoly period for medications if their prices are significantly increased—which would enable lower-cost generic drugs to come to market earlier.

Also in March, Durbin introduced the bipartisan Recovering Excessive Funds for Unused and Needless Drugs (REFUND) Act, a bill that would enable Medicare to recoup money from drug companies who were paid for wasted medications, and provide savings to seniors enrolled in Medicare.