Washington, D.C.—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released the following statement this evening regarding the proposed Dorgan amendment to The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
“There was a time when this legislation was a critical step toward helping more Americans access affordable, safe prescription drugs.
“That time was when Republicans ran our government with the philosophy that even as more Americans lost their health care – even as fewer Americans could afford the skyrocketing cost of medicine – even as more seniors skipped and split the pills they need to stay healthy – Republicans said, Nothing to see here. They pretended everything was just fine the way it is.
“And against their strong opposition to doing anything – anything – to help the millions of Americans who had, and continue to have, no security or stability in their health care, we proposed legislation similar to the amendment before us, and I supported those efforts.
“But then a great thing happened last November. The American people demanded that their leaders take this country in a new and better direction, one that recognizes the real pain they feel and works to relieve it.
“That is why one of our first and most important priorities has been this comprehensive health care reform. And included among the timely and urgent improvements in our bill are changes that will make prescription drugs more affordable.
“In our upside-down health delivery system, those who are hit hardest with the most expensive prescription drugs, hospital stays and doctor visits are those whose lives most depend on it. They are those without any health insurance. That’s why our bill gets to the root of the problem by making sure the uninsured can afford and access good coverage.
“First, the health reform bill now on the floor will ensure nearly every American – including 31 million who today have nowhere to turn – will be able to afford quality health insurance. Among other things, that means they will pay less out of their own pockets for the prescriptions they need.
“Second, when we strengthen Medicare – as this bill does – we will close the coverage gap, known as the ‘doughnut hole,’ that today prevents so many seniors from affording their medications.
“Both of these existing improvements to our terribly broken health care system will make prescription drugs more affordable for millions of Americans who rely on them every day. And that will make the re-importation of drugs from other countries far less necessary.
“Because of this good bill, this amendment before us today is simply unnecessary. It is not the best way to ensure Americans can both get the prescription drugs they need, and get them at an affordable price. Our underlying bill, as it currently reads, is the best way.”