Letter to the Editor

Grassley, Ernst column

Monday, August 17, 2020

I appreciate Sen. Chuck Grassley’s work and persistence toward reducing drug costs and the fact he admits it has been a bipartisan effort. However, his and Sen. Joni Ernst’s joint comments published Aug. 14 were missing details. Allow me to fill in the holes.

Congress approved the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (HR 3) on Dec. 12, 2019, that allows Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies to bring down the cost of prescription drugs and set a cap on the total out-of-pocket costs that seniors and others on Medicare are required to pay each year for their prescription drugs. It overturns what the GOP controlled government approved in 2003 that bars the federal government from negotiating the price Medicare pays for prescription drugs.

As for Grassley’s bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., among other GOP senators in close elections, characterized the negotiating practice as “socialist price controls.” McConnell’s raised more than $200,000 from pharmaceutical companies (that oppose it) so far this election cycle and is not bringing the measure to the floor. In December, Grassley accused him of sabotaging his bill.

As far as the president getting involved to win support for the bill, the White House advisers don’t want him involved. Grassley said he “never got a good reason” as to why.

Meanwhile the Trump administration is defending a lawsuit before the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act with no replacement. It would let insurance companies drop everyone with preexisting conditions. The GOP say they will stop that but don’t mention allowing the insurance companies to charge unaffordable prices for it which will in effect leave people with preexisting conditions without health insurance yet again.

I find it interesting there were pointed partisan comments while denouncing partisanship. I conclude this article was a campaign ad for Ernst.

— Diane Smith, Spencer