Nunes Opening Statement at Hearing on Promoting Competition and Lowering Medicare Drug Prices

March 7, 2019 — In Case You Missed It...    — Opening Statements   

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Devin Nunes (R-CA) delivered the following opening statement at a Subcommittee Hearing on Promoting Competition and Lowering Medicare Drug Prices.

Before the start of today’s hearing, Rep. Nunes and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the top Republican on the Committee, sent a letter to Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).  CLICK HERE to read the full letter.

CLICK HERE to watch the hearing.

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to the witnesses for being here today.

“A few weeks ago, we all sat in this room and started a good conversation about the broken incentives in the Medicare program.  We committed to work together – on a bipartisan basis –  to lower out-of-pocket health care costs for Americans by cracking down on overpriced drugs, empowering patients to choose the most affordable medicines for them, and eliminating the incentives in Medicare that reward bad actors and lead to higher prices.

“However, I’m worried that some of the ideas advocated for by my friends on the other side of the aisle go too far.

“We haven’t yet had a hearing on Democrats’ radical plan to outlaw the private insurance Americans get at work. But we do have the opportunity today to talk about one of the planks of that plan: the confiscation of intellectual property if a manufacturer rejects the ‘best offer’ of a Washington bureaucrat.

“That sort of policy – the seizure of medicines by an unhappy government – is best left to socialist regimes, not the United States of America.  Yet 117 Democrats support it.  It’s shocking.  I want to be clear: Republicans oppose this ‘control and confiscate’ agenda.

“Republicans are fighting to ensure Americans have more choices, not less, and that the pipeline of innovation for cures continues.

“There is no silver-bullet to addressing the bad actors in the pharmaceutical industry.  But we can work together to get the incentives right.

“Why do we have a system that rewards manufacturers who charge the highest price in a drug class?

“Why do we have a system that puts the taxpayers on the hook for bailing out plans?

“Why do we have a system that makes cancer patients pay double for chemo based on where they got their treatment?

“I hope our witnesses will be able to spend their time today answering those questions, not walking us through unprecedented policies like “compulsory licensing,” which will squash the hope of future medical breakthroughs.

“I yield back.”