Davis, McEachin Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Prevent Increased Prescription Drug Costs

Nov 03, 2021
Health Care

Washington, D.C.

This week, U.S. Representatives Rodney Davis (R-IL) and A. Donald McEachin (D-VA)introduced the Help Ensure Lower Patient (HELP) Copays Act to protect patients from increased out-of-pocket prescription drug costs.

The bipartisan bill builds on previous efforts to lower out-of-pocket (OOP) costs for patients by prohibiting the use of copay accumulator programs, ensuring insurers cannot exclude the value of pharmaceutical manufacturer cost-sharing assistance from counting toward an enrollee’s annual cost-sharing limit.

“Making prescription drugs more affordable for everyone is one of my top priorities and a bipartisan goal shared by Congress,” said Rep. Davis (IL-13). “Especially with the costs of goods and services on the rise, patients shouldn’t have to face complicated financial barriers when purchasing prescription drugs. Every dollar saved counts. That’s why I’m proud to join Congressman McEachin in introducing this bipartisan legislation so we can provide financial relief to patients and promote their health at the same time.”

“Access to life-saving prescription drug medications should not be complicated by undue financial barriers,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “As Americans continue navigating the coronavirus pandemic, we must take steps to protect them from undue out-of-pocket expenses. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation, alongside Congressman Davis, to protect patients who rely on copay assistance.”

Historically, when a patient has utilized cost-sharing assistance at the pharmacy counter, the amount has counted towards a patient’s deductible and maximum out-of-pocket limit, thereby lowering patient’s overall out-of-pocket spending. In June 2020, former Trump Administration HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar, II finalized the 2021 NBPP rule, reversing that policy and allowing health insurers to adopt “copay accumulator adjustment programs.” These programs permit issuers to exclude cost-sharing assistance towards a patient’s OOP maximum, making it difficult for patients to afford their medicines. Moreover, allowing copay accumulator programs also impedes patient access to treatment amid an unprecedented pandemic and economic crisis.

Reps. Davis and McEachin have continuously advocated for patients and have been outspoken critics of copay accumulator programs. Earlier this year, they sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to reverse the copay accumulator policy change included in the 2021 NBPP. Last Congress, Reps. Davis, McEachin, and Watson Coleman introduced the Preserving Patient Savings on Drug Costs Act to take immediate action on the NBPP rule during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the Help Ensure Lower Patient (HELP) Copays Act bill text and fact sheet.

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