AARP Virginia Expresses Disappointment in Governor Youngkin for Veto of Prescription Drug Affordability Board Legislation

Posted on 04/08/24

Medical: Customer pays for expensive prescriptions in pharmacy.
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RICHMOND _AARP Virginia State Director Jim Dau released the following statement in response to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s veto of legislation that would have helped rein in the cost of prescription drugs for Virginians. The legislature will have the opportunity to override the veto when they reconvene in Richmond on April 17.

Senate Bill 274 and House Bill 570 would establish a Prescription Drug Affordability Board to review the cost of life-saving medication. The board would have the power to set upper payment limits on drugs which are deemed unaffordable. The bills passed both chambers of the General Assembly with bipartisan support. SB274 was patroned by Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Charlottesville) and HB570 was patroned by Del. Karrie Delaney (D-Centreville). Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Galax) co-patroned the Senate bill.

AARP Virginia has worked on this issue for three years as a part of the Virginians for Affordable Medicine coalition. In the past few weeks, AARP has facilitated hundreds of phone calls and over 1,000 emails to Governor Youngkin from members expressing their support for this legislation.

Dau’s statement:

“AARP is disappointed that Governor Youngkin vetoed this commonsense legislation. Virginians across the state have made very clear that they expected action to address the unaffordable costs of life-saving medication, and they overwhelmingly support the creation of a Prescription Drug Affordability Board. General Assembly members in both parties answered the call, but today’s veto is a step backward to helping many people afford their cost of living – and their cost of staying alive.”

 “While we are disappointed in the governor’s decision, General Assembly members will have an opportunity to show they’re listening to their constituents and acting to help them. We hope that members of both parties will listen to the voices of Virginians struggling to pay for their medication and override this veto.”

Background

The prices of prescription drugs are increasing well above the rate of inflation. Americans pay more for their medicine than any country on earth, and Virginians pay 36% more than the national average.

In 2023, AARP Virginia polled voters of all ages and found that:

· 35% of Virginians chose not to fill a prescription in 2023.

· Three out of four (75%) Virginia voters support creating a Prescription Drug Affordability Board.

· Two-thirds (67%) of voters take prescription drugs, and half of them spend more than $600 annually on their medication.

· 63% of voters are concerned about the cost of medication.

· Across party lines, voters strongly support the creation of a Prescription Drug Affordability Board (Democrats - 85%, Republicans - 71%, Independents - 70%).

The Policy

A Prescription Drug Affordability Board would:

· Be an independent state board with the authority to set an upper payment limit on a few of the highest-cost medications for Virginians.

· Save taxpayers money by reducing state and local government spending on prescription drugs.

· Help ensure affordable access to life-saving medicine for illnesses like cancer and diabetes.

· Mitigate out-of-control prices set by the big drug companies.

With nearly 1 million members in Virginia, AARP is the largest organization working on behalf of people age 50+ and their families in the Commonwealth. In recent years, AARP Virginia has successfully fought for Medicaid expansion, protections for older people against financial exploitation, nursing home staffing standards and empowering family caregivers.

To learn more about AARP Virginia, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aarpvirginia and follow @AARPVa on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aarpva.

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the nation's largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

This story is provided by AARP Virginia. Visit the AARP Virginia page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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