House Approves Welch Initiatives to Lower Prescription Drug Prices, Improve Affordable Care Act
WASHINGTON – This evening, by a vote of 234-183, the House of Representatives approved a multi-pronged health care package (H.R. 987) that will lower prescription drug prices and increase access to health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The final bill includes five provisions written or co-sponsored by Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.). Video of Welch speaking on the bill can be found HERE.
“Vermonters are getting hammered by skyrocketing prescription drug prices due to the indefensible practice of brand drug companies to block more affordable and equally effective generic drugs from coming to the market,” said Welch. “Our bill will lower drug prices by outlawing these anticompetitive practices. It will also increase access to health care coverage by reversing Trump administration efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.”
Rep. Welch’s drug pricing provisions included in the final bill are:
- The CREATES Act (H.R. 965), which prohibits the practice of brand drug companies withholding drug samples required by generic manufacturers to develop more affordable and equally effective generic alternatives. This anti-competitive action delays the availability to consumers of more affordable drugs. Welch is an original cosponsor of the CREATES Act and the author of a nearly identical House bill, the FAST Generics Act (H.R. 985). Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is the lead sponsor of the CREATES Act in the Senate.
- The Protecting Consumer Access to Generic Drugs Act (H.R. 1499), which would ban name brand drug companies from paying other drug companies not to develop a generic alternative to the brand drug, a practice also known as “pay-for-delay.” Welch is a cosponsor of this bill.
The package also includes provisions that would reverse efforts already implemented by the Trump administration to sabotage the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Rep. Welch’s health care access provisions included in the final bill are:
- Welch Amendment #3, approved by the House during floor debate on the bill, would block any effort by the Trump administration to eliminate the current option for consumers to automatically re-enroll in their ACA health plan during open season. Ending auto-reenrollment is a top priority of the Trump administration, which would leave approximately two million Americans without insurance or with a gap in coverage.
- The MORE Health Education Act (H.R. 987), which would provide $100 million for consumer outreach and education about ACA health exchanges and the open season enrollment process. The Trump Administration has slashed funding for this activity. Welch is a cosponsor of this bill.
- H.R. 1010, which would repeal the Administration’s rule that allows short term limited duration plans that do not cover pre-existing conditions, also known as “junk plans.” Welch is a cosponsor of this bill.
Welch is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee from which the legislation emanated.