With Skyrocketing Drug Prices & Economic Uncertainty Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, Rep. Katko Introduces the Lowering Drug Costs for Seniors Act
WASHINGTON, DC— U.S. Rep. John Katko (R, NY-24) today introduced the Lowering Drug Costs for Seniors Act of 2020. Amid increased economic uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic and with skyrocketing drug prices impacting seniors in Central New York, Rep. Katko’s bipartisan legislation limits out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for Medicare Part D recipients and provides payments to seniors who faced increased out-of-pocket expenses in the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole’ in 2020. Rep. Katko introduced this bipartisan measure alongside U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D, FL-7).
Under current rules, 2020 Medicare Part D recipients enter the ‘donut hole’ or coverage gap when their total drug costs reach $4,200. While in the ‘donut hole,’ seniors are responsible for 25% of the cost of their prescriptions, an amount that is crippling for most seniors. Beneficiaries exit the coverage gap and enter catastrophic coverage, where they benefit from much lower drug costs, once they have paid $6,350 in out-of-pocket costs for medications, a threshold that rose by nearly 25% at the beginning of the year. The heavy financial burden seniors face when in the ‘donut hole,’ coupled with the out-of-pocket cap increase of $1,250 in 2020, is particularly devastating to Central New York seniors, many of whom are on fixed budgets and have experienced economic adversity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rep. Katko’s Lowering Drug Costs for Seniors Act provides relief during this crisis by issuing direct payments to offset the out-of-pocket cost increase for seniors who fell into the ‘donut hole’ in 2020. The legislation also reduces the out-of-pocket ‘donut hole’ exit threshold beyond 2020, ensuring seniors can afford their medications going forward.
“Today, I’m pleased to introduce the Lowering Drug Costs for Seniors Act of 2020,” said Rep. Katko. “With many local seniors facing skyrocketing drug prices and with the COVID-19 pandemic adding increased economic uncertainty, this bipartisan bill would limit out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for Medicare Part D recipients. This critical bill would also provide direct payments to local seniors to offset any increase in out-of-pocket expenses experienced by those who entered the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole’ in 2020. Now more than ever, we must adopt bipartisan reforms like my Lowering Drug Costs for Seniors Act to put an end to out-of-control prescription drug costs.”