As I sat in the gallery watching the State of the Union as a guest of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, I was very disappointed to hear President Donald Trump talk about prescription drug affordability without mentioning the House-passed Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, HB 3 (“6 takeaways from Trump’s State of the Union speech,” Feb. 5). As Mr. Trump himself has recognized, the provision in HB 3 which would for the first time allow Medicare to negotiate with drug corporations is one of the best tools we can use to make high cost drugs more affordable.
Luckily in Maryland, our newly created Prescription Drug Affordability Board can take some strong actions here in our state on this issue. But we need a national solution so the U.S. Senate should pass right away and President Trump should sign HB 3. I was also shocked to hear the president exclaim his support for protecting people with pre-existing conditions from losing their health coverage when he fought hard to remove these protections by law, and luckily failed, and is right now asking federal courts to invalidate these life-saving protections. As Majority Leader Hoyer eloquently said, if Mr. Trump really does support health care coverage protections as he says, he would immediately withdraw his support for the lawsuit seeking to wholly invalidate the Affordable Care Act, including its pre-existing conditions provisions.
On health care, sadly, Donald Trump has been mostly talk with no follow-up and bad actions such as undermining the ACA. We urge Marylanders and all Americans to demand that he and the Senate drop their partisan rancor and support bipartisan measures like HB 3 which can make health care more affordable for us all.
Vincent DeMarco, Baltimore
The writer is president of Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative.
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