AN EMERGENCY RESOLUTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF OREGON
Regarding Drug Price Negotiation and Strengthening Medicare
WHEREAS, President Biden has put forward the American Families Plan to address our social needs “infrastructure” and it is designed to be open to a reconciliation process between House and Senate; and
WHEREAS, Oregon’s Senator Ron Wyden as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee will play a central role in any reconciliation process; and
WHEREAS, the House passed H.R. 3, a major drug price control bill, in the 116th Congress (2019-20), and a broad coalition of consumer safety, public health, business, faith-based, racial justice, and labor organizations has now called for inclusion of drug price reform in the American Families Plan that would subject more drugs to negotiation on price controls and stronger enforcement tools building beyond H.R. 3; and
WHEREAS, that coalition has called for using the resulting savings to expand and improve Medicare by capping out-of-pocket costs, by expanding covered services to include dental, vision and hearing, and by lowering the age of eligibility for Medicare; and
WHEREAS, in Article 6 of the Platform of the Democratic Party of Oregon, Plank 6 supports publicly funded health care that would cover dental, vision and hearing services, and Plank 16 states that we support authorizing the government to negotiate drug prices with transparency; and
WHEREAS, healthcare costs in the U.S. are roughly twice those in the rest of the developed world, but drug costs are roughly four times higher because the government is barred from negotiating drug prices and pharmaceutical companies abuse their monopoly power to raise prices on existing drugs; and
WHEREAS, high drug prices lead over three in ten Americans to ration their medications to save money, often leading to worsening health outcomes, including death and
WHEREAS, Medicare Part B currently does not have an out-of-pocket maximum, and over seven million Medicare enrollees lack supplemental insurance, leading low-income seniors to forego care. Dental, vision, and hearing services are not covered, so lower income seniors are unable to access those services; and
WHEREAS, all of the shortcomings and gaps mentioned above ration care for lower-income people, who are disproportionately Black, Indigenous, or other People of Color; and
WHEREAS, H.R. 3 would have saved Medicare over $450 billion over 10 years. Requiring price negotiation for more drugs with stronger enforcement could save even more. All of which could be used to address Medicare coverage gaps that worsen income, gender, and racial inequities;
NOW, THEREFORE, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF OREGON RESOLVES AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. That the Democratic Party of Oregon State Central Committee commends Senator Wyden and the other Oregon Democratic members Congress for their work to cut drug costs to Medicare in the 116th Congress and urges them to continue and strengthen that work in the current Congress.
Section 2. That the Democratic Party of Oregon State Central Committee calls on Senator Wyden to use his position as chair of the Senate Finance Committee to ensure that the following are included in the American Families Plan bill:
- Drug price negotiation
- Medicare drug cost reduction
- Create a low out-of-pocket Medicare maximum
- Coverage of dental, vision and hearing services
- Lowering the age of Medicare eligibility
Section 3. That the Democratic Party of Oregon State Central Committee calls for many more drugs to be included in drug price negotiations than in H.R. 3 with stronger enforcement standards and tools.
Section 4. The Democratic Party of Oregon State Central Committee directs DPO staff to send this resolution to the state directors of Oregon’s Democratic Party Congressional delegation.
Resolution submitted by Lisa Stiller, CD 1, Travis Nelson, Democratic National Committee Member; Valdez Bravo, Healthcare Caucus, Michael Smith, Gun Owners Caucus; Genny Lynch, Linn County
ADOPTED by the Democratic Party of Oregon on July 6th, 2021.