#TakeAction – June 20, 2019

Here are a couple of #TakeActions for Thursday.

🔶 Oppose Trump’s plan to reduce low income benefits
🔶 Ask Rep. Schrier to Cosponsor the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act

1. (ACTION) Use this link to submit comments opposing OMB’s proposed changes to lower the measure of inflation used to make adjustments to the poverty line. Over time this would lower eligibility limits for crucial poverty assistance programs: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=OMB-2019-0002-0001

Date: The deadline to submit comments is Friday, 21 June.

Consider using some of the following points when making your comments:

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, if the changes were made:
• More than 250,000 seniors and people with disabilities would lose or receive less help from Medicare’s Part D Low-Income Subsidy, meaning they would pay higher premiums for drug coverage and pay more out of pocket for prescription drugs.
• More than 300,000 children would lose comprehensive coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and more than 250,000 adults would lose coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion.
• Millions of ACA marketplace consumers would receive lower premium tax credits, meaning they would pay higher premiums, and more than 150,000 would get less help with cost sharing, meaning their deductibles would increase.
Significant numbers of low-income households, primarily in working families, would lose eligibility for federal nutrition assistance programs including SNAP (food stamps); the WIC nutrition program for low-income women, infants and children; and free school meals.

Background:
In order to cut social services spending, the Trump Administration has proposed changing the income level at which a family is considered impoverished, which affects access to programs such as:
• Free or federally subsidized health care
• Housing and home heating assistance
• Food programs such as SNAP, school breakfast/lunch programs, WIC
Families cannot afford to lose these benefits. Experts tend to agree that the current poverty line is already well below what is needed to raise a family. Lowering the government poverty line even further would make the poverty line even less accurate and increase the number of people without health insurance and cause other forms of hardship.

Sources:
WA Center for Budget & Policy: https://budgetandpolicy.org/…/low-blow-trump-proposal…/
CBPP: https://www.cbpp.org/…/faq-the-trump-administrations…
CBPP: https://www.cbpp.org/…/trump-administration-floating…
CBPP: https://www.cbpp.org/…/poverty-line-proposal-would-cut…

2. (ACTION) Call Congresswoman Schrier, urge her to cosponsor H.R. 1046.

Background:
This bill lifts the restrictions that currently prevent Medicare from negotiating with drug companies, but just as importantly it would give Medicare the leverage it needs to negotiate effectively without putting patients at risk.

Here’s how it would work:
• Under H.R. 1046, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would be required to negotiate prices for covered Medicare Part D drugs (which is most drugs). This would help to bring down spending on prescription drugs by billions of dollars, since Medicare Part D has a tremendous amount of purchasing power.
• If the negotiations don’t arrive at an appropriate price, the Secretary would be required to issue a “competitive license.” A competitive license means generic producers of drugs would be allowed to manufacture competitors to name brand drugs when the drug company that owns the patent refuses to responsibly negotiate with Medicare. This competition would subsequently bring down the price of the drug for patients.
• This approach would put drug companies’ monopolies in the crosshairs—not a patient’s access to medicine. Whether companies are willing to negotiate their prices down or must deal with generic competition, patients will come out paying lower prices.

Sources:
Indivisible: https://indivisible.org/…/hr-1046-act-now-bring-drug…
Commonwealth Fund: https://www.commonwealthfund.org/…/paying-prescription…
If Medicare were able to purchase medications at the same prices the Veteran’s Administration pays, the US government would save billions of dollars: https://jamanetwork.com/…/jama…/article-abstract/2720124
Taxpayer funding for drug development: https://www.pnas.org/content/115/10/2329

**CALENDAR**
We’re posting many events for our group and others on our calendar. Check it out! http://www.indivisible-wa8.com/calendar/

**EMAIL**
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