Rep. Axne Votes to Lower Prescription Drugs Price for Iowa Seniors and Families, Adds Amendment to Cut Red Tape

December 12, 2019
Press Release
Axne amendment will help reduce administrative burdens on doctors and medical facilities, reducing costs and ensuring better quality of care

Washington D.C. — Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) voted for passage of H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, a measure that will lower prescription drug prices and improve the quality of health care for Iowa seniors and families. Prior to passage of the final bill, the House voted unanimously to add Rep. Axne’s amendment to tackle excessive health care administrative costs to the final package.

“Every week, I hear from Iowa seniors and families in my district about their struggle to pay for their prescription drugs,” said Rep. Cindy Axne. “I’ve heard stories of Iowans skipping meals, rationing their drugs, and depleting their retirement saving just to afford the medications they need to live. I’m proud to vote today to cap Medicare drug costs, allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, and save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars to ensure that no Iowan ever has to decide again between buying medication and making ends meet.”

The Lower Drug Costs Now Act would allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drugs every year, and extend those savings to Americans across the country. It will also create a $2,000 out-of-pocket cap for seniors, while ensuring that drug companies can’t charge Americans more than 20% higher prices that other countries, like Great Britain or Australia. It also increases investments into more innovative, affordable cures and treatments. It is endorsed by AARP, Protect Our Care Iowa, and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

“I am fed up with pharmaceutical lobbyists writing laws that benefit their bottom lines,” said Rep. Axne. “The Lower Drug Costs Now Act would lower prescription drug prices across the board, help our seniors keep their retirement savings. I know how important improving our health care system it – it’s literally life or death. I’m proud to support this bill, to improve it with my amendment, and to continue fighting for Iowans in Congress.”

Prior to final passage of the bill, the House voted by voice vote to adopt Rep. Axne’s amendment to create a grant program to help reduce duplicative and excessive health care administrative costs, as well as reduce the redundant work by 50% at the federal level.

“I’m particularly proud that the House voted unanimously today to include my amendment to cut medical red tape and reduce excessive medical paperwork to improve the quality of health care and lower costs for Iowa families and doctors,” continued Rep. Axne. “As a mother of two, nothing frustrates me more than when I take time off work to take my sick children in to the doctor and I spend more time filling out paperwork than they do seeing my kids.”

You can find the video of Rep. Axne’s introduction of the amendment HERE.

Axne’s amendment creates a $250 million grant program and directs the federal government to reduce their excess administrative costs by 50% over a 10 year period, meaning the grant will more than pay for itself while saving taxpayer money. Axne’s amendment could save the federal government millions of dollars annually, while also giving doctors and nurses more time with their patients.

A 2016 survey found that doctors are spending twice as much time on administrative work as they do seeing patients. That same study found when a doctor is with a patient in an exam room, they’ll still spend more than a third of that time at their computer.

“Ask any health care professional about the excessive paperwork they have to do, and they’ll tell you that it’s burning them out. I’ve heard it from doctors, nurses, all kinds of medical professionals that they need something to change,” Rep. Axne said. “My amendment saves everyone money, it’s going to help doctors and nurses focus on their patients.” 

This morning, the Health Innovation Alliance — a collection of patient groups and medical provider organizations — endorsed Rep. Axne’s amendment.