Congresswoman Cheri Bustos met with a roundtable of community leaders today to discuss lowering the price of healthcare.
Bustos said lawmakers could begin debating legislation in Washington as soon as next week that aims to make prescription drugs more affordable.
“Most people don’t know it, but Medicare is not allowed to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs,” she said. “And because there’s nothing bigger than Medicaid to buy drugs, that then has an effect of everybody who has insurance.”
Bustos said allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices could bring down the cost of the top 35 prescriptions on the market.
The legislation would also “crack down” on “junk” insurance plans that refuse to cover pre-existing conditions, among other measures.
Bustos said she expects bipartisan support for such measures.
“The president campaigned on bringing down the price of not just prescription drugs, but the cost of healthcare. Democrats did. Republicans did,” she said. “So we’ve all got a common denominator that we said we’d get this done.”
The roundtable also discussed open enrollment in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. Enrollment opened today and closes Dec. 15.
Those who are currently enrolled in an ACA insurance policy and don’t elect to change it by the deadline will be defaulted into their existing plan — though health officials note that the terms of the plan, including the doctors and services covered, may not necessarily stay the same.