Pelosi pushes Texas prescription drug pricing program
Leaders from both political parties have expressed desires to lower the cost of prescription medication in Texas, but their approaches differ greatly.
Why it matters: Texas is one of only a dozen states that hasn’t expanded its Medicaid program. The state has the highest number of uninsured residents and the highest percentage of its population uninsured.
- Texas also spends more on prescription drugs than any other state in the country, according to data pulled from medical claims clearing houses.
Driving the news: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Colin Allred hosted a roundtable in Dallas this week, focusing on expanding Medicaid and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
- Dallas County health director Phil Huang said during the meeting that Parkland spends $1.8 million a month to treat uninsured COVID patients.
Catch up quick: Medicaid expansion would mean the federal government spends $9 for every $1 Texas contributes, but bills that would have expanded Medicaid in Texas have failed over the last few legislative sessions.
Context: Gov. Greg Abbott and State Attorney General Ken Paxton have campaigned on achievements battling pharmaceutical companies. Paxton has touted settlements with drug companies related to price gouging and the opioid crisis.
- In 2019, Abbott signed a drug-price transparency bill that requires drug companies to turn over information any time a drug price goes up more than 15% in a year.
By the numbers: In 2019, 18.4% of Texans were uninsured, according to the state comptroller’s office.
- Counting only Texans under age 65, the people not eligible for Medicare, the percentage of uninsured in the state is 20.8%, per a recent Texas Tribune column.
- Rep. Allred said this week that expanding Medicaid would “expand lifesaving coverage to more than 1 million Texans.”
What they’re saying: “This is a mission because this is right on the kitchen table of every table in America,” Pelosi said at the Dallas roundtable, according to WFAA. “I have seen grown men cry as I’ve gone around the country and listened to people, the priorities of the American people.”
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