Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is pushing the Biden administration to provide a concrete plan for implementing two critical measures that would improve prescription drug price transparency and hold health insurance companies accountable. Specifically, Grassley requests an update from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on the status of the Medicare Part D real-time benefit tool (RTBT), and he also requests an update from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) on their plans to implement prescription drug price transparency rules for health insurance companies.
“Transparency will bring more accountability to the health care industry and lower costs for consumers,” Grassley said. “I’m calling on CMS to properly implement a real-time benefit tool that empowers seniors to know more about the true cost of their medications. I’m also calling on federal agencies to implement price transparency rules for prescription drug data without any further delay. It’s past time for our health care industry to operate in the sunlight.”
“I appreciate Senator Grassley’s work to put a much needed spotlight on health care transparency, including pharmaceutical price transparency. Federal agencies must live up to their promises. It’s critical that consumers, employers and taxpayers are provided this information in a timely manner to make informed decisions about their health care. Too often consumers don’t know the real cost of a service or prescription drug, and they are left footing the bill. Transparency will bring more accountability and lower costs,” said Paul M. Pietzsch, president of the Health Policy Corporation of Iowa, an independent, nonprofit organization working to develop and support initiatives which relate to cost containment, quality and access of health services in Iowa.
For years, Grassley has led the effort to pass bipartisan prescription drug pricing reform that saves money for taxpayers and consumers, caps annual out-of-pocket expenses and prevents prices from rising faster than inflation – all without raising taxes or causing prices to climb even higher. Grassley is the author of the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act (PDPRA), which includes 25 bipartisan provisions to establish accountability and transparency in the pharmaceutical industry.
Recently, Grassley filed PDPRA as an amendment with 10 Republican cosponsors to the Democrats’ reckless tax and spending bill – meaning comprehensive drug pricing reform could have garnered the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster and could have passed with bipartisan support. However, these provisions were left out of the bill, with Democrats instead choosing to take an entirely partisan approach.
In the past year, Grassley has passed five of his bipartisan drug-pricing bills out of committee that seek to lower prices, increase competition and hold Big Pharma and middlemen accountable. Unfortunately, Majority Leader Schumer won’t bring them up for a vote – even though they would easily pass the Senate.