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Steven Horsford pushes Medicare, prescription drug reform

Rep. Steven Horsford announced Saturday the House Ways and Means Committee will soon take up four bills he either wrote or co-sponsored that are aimed at improving Medicare benefits and lowering prescription drug costs, particularly for seniors.

“These high drug prices are forcing Nevadans to have to choose, literally, between filling a medication or paying their gas bill or being able to eat every single day,” Horsford said at news conference held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Health Center in Las Vegas.

Horsford’s legislation would cap out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for seniors at $2,000 per year, enhance dental coverage for Medicare recipients and increase grant opportunities for hospitals to train low-income residents in nursing and related fields.

The committee, which Horsford serves on, will also vote on the larger Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which Horsford co-sponsored.

The prescription cap would save an average of $3,100 per year for seniors on Medicare, Horsford said, while the Lower Drug Costs Act would save the country $345 billion over the next 10 years.

Horsford said that three out of every 10 adults have admitted to not taking their recommended prescription drug cost dosage in the last year due to cost, while seniors spent an average of $1,000 for out-of-pocket dental expenses.

In 1960, the average family spent $90 per year on prescription drugs. That number is now $1,200, Horsford said.

The committee will consider the bills on Tuesday, with a full vote in the House expected within a few weeks. Some of the legislation has bipartisan support, Horsford said, and he hopes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump will support them.

“Obviously, this is not a partisan issue,” Horsford said. “The issue of lowering prescription drugs affects Republicans, Independents, Democrats, nonpartisans. It doesn’t matter if you’re rural voters or here in the urban areas. Everyone is affected by the high cost of drugs, so every member of Congress … should work to lower the high cost of prescription drugs.”

Contact Rory Appleton at RAppleton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0276. Follow @RoryDoesPhonics on Twitter.

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