Hoyer on Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act

i thank the gentleman for yielding. let me say to my friend, we don't have to say you did it perfectly. TimeCode: 12:10:37.0 that's what we are talking about. making it better. that's what this is about. improving. we can argue and debate about what is, but we can't argue about, i think, is that it's not perfect and we can make it better. and we are going to have a bipartisan vote on this. TimeCode: 12:10:51.8 we are going to have a lot of people on your side of the aisle say, yes, we can make it bert. that's what this is about. making it better. and by the way i tell my friend, 92% of the american public responds in polls they think this is what we ought to do. TimeCode: 12:11:07.9 that's not pounding on the table. it's pounding on democracy. mr. speaker, i want to before i further discuss this particular bill, discuss the legislation, h.r. 4. i would like to take a moment to congratulate the members of TimeCode: 12:11:24.6 the people's house, all of us, on the very productive week we have had. this week we worked to make americans safer. passing bipartisan legislation that implements the 9/11 commission recommendations. we worked to make our economy fairer, passing bipartisan TimeCode: 12:11:39.8 legislation that raises the federal minimum wage. and we worked to improve the health care for all americans, passing bipartisan legislation that promotes embryonic stem cell research. we are keeping our pledge to the american people to lead, TimeCode: 12:11:59.1 govern effectively, and get results. today we consider h.r. 4, the medicare prescription drug price negotiation act. bipartisan legislation aimed at cutting prescription drug TimeCode: 12:12:13.7 prices for millions of seniors and individuals with disabilitieses. i can't believe there's anybody opposed to that objective. yes, there is an issue how you do it best. many believe that this is one way to do it. not the only way to do it. this legislation repeals, in my TimeCode: 12:12:31.5 opinion, a misguided provision. in current law that explicitly prohibits the secretary of health and human services from entering into negotiation was drug companies to lower the cost of prescription drugs for the 43 million beneficiaries of medicare. TimeCode: 12:12:46.0 i tell my friend in the private sector, if the drug manufacturers believe there is an alternative, that will go into the price structure. i guarantee it. h.r. 4 requires the secretary -- by that i mean even if it's TimeCode: 12:13:01.4 not exercised we require it it to be exercised. even if it weren't, if that alternative is present, it's going to affect the psychology of pricing. h.r. 4 requires the secretary to conduct such negotiation, but gives the secretary broad discretion on how to most TimeCode: 12:13:18.3 effectively implement negotiating authority to achieve the greatest discounts. we want him to take steps to be effective. in accomplishing the objectives of bringing drug prices down for seniors. the bill also permits medicare part d drug plans to obtain discounts or lower prices below TimeCode: 12:13:34.3 those negotiated by the secretary. as "the new york times" observes today in an editorial, the bill is, and i quote, sufficiently flexible to allow older americans to benefit from TimeCode: 12:13:46.3 the best efforts of both government and private drug plans. mr. speaker, this legislation has the overwhelming support of the american people. many of whom experienced firsthand the rising cost of prescription drugs. TimeCode: 12:14:00.3 in fact, as i just quoted, a recent newsweek poll indicated that 92%, more than nine of every 10 americans believes this is a policy that ought to be supported. the people's house is going to TimeCode: 12:14:17.0 reflect that sentiment today. in my view this legislation is a secretary of defense -- commonsense effort to do right by the 43 million americans enrolled in medicare. it removes an unnecessary prohibition on prescription drug negotiations that should TimeCode: 12:14:31.9 not have been enacted in the first place. and allows the secretary to do what he was hired to do, to put the interest of the american people first. as chairman dingell and chairman rangel have observed, this bill is a very important TimeCode: 12:14:51.0 first step in making prescription drugs more affordable. in this 110th congress, we also must commit ourselves to addressing the affordability of and accessibility of health care generally. TimeCode: 12:15:06.4 i urge my colleagues to support this very important, bipartisan , commonsense step forward in bringing the prices of drugs down for all of our seniors and our people. i thank the gentleman for TimeCode: 12:15:20.1 yielding the time.