AARP Virginia State Director Jim Dau and U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger highlight need to lower prescription drug costs and extend health care subsidies

Posted on 07/28/22

Congress is on the cusp of delivering monumental improvements to the millions of Americans who are struggling to afford their prescription drugs, and AARP will continue to push until this bill is passed and signed into law
AARP Virginia State Director Jim Dau

AARP Virginia State Director Jim Dau and U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) joined a press call hosted by Invest in America on July 27 to highlight the need to lower prescription drug and health care costs for Virginians.

Americans want to see a Congress equally fed up as they are that Americans pay far more for prescription drugs than patients in other countries for the same medication. This is not a red or blue issue, just a priority that we should all get behind.
U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger

According to the Center for American Progress, if health care subsidies are not renewed, Virginia residents could see a yearly increase of $852 to their premiums, a 56% increase. It’s also estimated that more than 63,000 Virginians will become uninsured if the subsidies are not renewed.

Get the facts about 50+ Income in Virginia vs. Rx Price Gouging:

 Watch the recording here

Invest_in_America_Press_Call.jpg

Watch the recording here

Learn about the Impacts of High Rx Prices to Virginia Residents:

The following are statements from the call:

 Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA):

“I’ve long supported giving Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices. These reforms would drive costs down for Virginia seniors, and would also save the federal government billions of dollars over the next ten years. Giving Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices is about boosting competition, saving money for some of our most vulnerable members of society, and standing with consumers over massive pharmaceutical companies. Americans want to see a Congress equally fed up as they are that Americans pay far more for prescription drugs than patients in other countries for the same medication. This is not a red or blue issue, just a priority that we should all get behind. It’s time to finally allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices.”

 
Jim Dau, State Director of AARP Virginia:

“The number one issue that we consistently hear about from people in our state and across the country is the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. One out of every five Virginians over the age of 45 decided not to fill a prescription in the last year because of its cost, and many took less than prescribed to make the prescription last longer. It is unacceptable that so many are cutting back on everyday necessities like food, gas, and electricity to afford their prescriptions. Congress is on the cusp of delivering monumental improvements to the millions of Americans who are struggling to afford their prescription drugs, and AARP will continue to push until this bill is passed and signed into law.”

Why this matters to Virginians:

  • As of December 2021, there were 639,244 Virginia beneficiaries with stand-alone Medicare Part D coverage, and another 424,711 with Medicare Advantage plans that included integrated Part D coverage – totaling more than one million Virginia enrollees. (Source: https://www.healthinsurance.org/medicare/virginia/)
  • In Virginia, about 300,000 people get their health care coverage on the health insurance exchange – the vast majority of which receive some financial assistance to purchase their coverage. 
  • The impact of this enhanced financial assistance has been especially beneficial for 50-64-year-old Virginians, having reduced premiums by an average of 18%. This means that failure to extend the ARPA enhancement could increase annual premiums by $1,056 for this group. (Source – Avalere: https://avalere.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/20211013_-AARP-Issue-Brief_vFinal.pdf)
  • Thousands of older Virginians would be impacted. For example, 9% of the 50–64-year-olds enrolled through the exchange in Virginia had incomes between 400-500% FPL. This translates to 9,720 older Virginians in the “subsidy cliff” who could lose coverage if the ARPA enhanced financial assistance is not extended. This doesn’t include the number of people with lower incomes who received more generous subsidies and who might also otherwise drop/lose coverage. (Source – Avalere: https://avalere.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/20211013_-AARP-Issue-Brief_vFinal.pdf)
  • Before this enhanced assistance in 2019, 30% of Virginians aged 50-64 enrolled in exchange or other individual market plans had coverage that was considered unaffordable relative to their income.
  • Similarly, before this enhanced assistance, 17% of older people in Virginia getting their coverage through the exchange and on the individual market reported issues paying medical bills, and 9% delayed medical care due to cost.

There are 1 million AARP members living in Virginia. 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.More information about AARP’s Fair Drug Prices campaign can be found at aarp.org/rx.

About AARP AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also 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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