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Daines backs bill capping out-of-pocket costs in Medicare Part D

Sen. Steve Daines is supporting a bipartisan proposal brewing in the Senate Finance Committee that would cap annual out-of-pocket costs for seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D.

The proposal, known as the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act, has the support of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and the Trump administration.

“I hear from seniors who are struggling with high, out-of-pocket costs when it comes to their prescription drugs,” Daines told Azar during a recent committee hearing. “I’m glad the administration voiced its support for such a proposal in the president’s budget. It’s an important policy that I’m going to continue to advocate for.”

Drafted by committee leadership and cosponsored by Daines, the plan would establish a $3,100 annual cap for out-of-pocket expenses under Medicare Part D. The program currently has no out-of-pocket cap, resulting in soaring bills for some seniors.

Azar painted one scenario in which a Helena woman needing Revlimid to treat multiple myeloma would pay $6,350 under the current program before reaching the so-called catastrophic cap. Once she hits the cap, she would continue paying 5% of all drug costs.

The new proposal would cap that annual out-of-pocket cost at $3,100.

“And she would never pay again for drug expense during that year,” Azar said. “In addition, it would allow her to spread that catastrophic cap over a 12 month period. She could elect to never pay more than $258 a month for her drugs, no matter what her drug expense is. It’s an incredible out-of-pocket change for the American senior if we can do this.”

On Tuesday, a Daines spokesperson said President Donald Trump supports the bipartisan bill.

“The bill would cap how much seniors are paying out-of-pocket under Medicare Part D to ensure folks don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for the medication they need,” said Katie Schoettler. “The senator is working to get the bill on the floor of the U.S. Senate for a vote and across the finish line.”