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Finance Committee mental health and drug pricing package includes Casey’s Protecting Seniors from High Drug Costs Act

Legislative package also contains Casey-led provisions to support rural hospitals and insurance assistance

Committee voted 26-0 to move legislation forward

Washington, D.C. - Today, the Senate Finance Committee voted on a drug pricing and mental health legislative package which contained provisions from U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) to protect seniors from high drug costs and save our safety net hospitals from funding cuts. The package now can move to the Senate floor.  

“We have an obligation to ensure that health care is affordable and accessible for everyone across our Nation,” said Chairman Casey. “This legislative package will help meet that obligation by protecting seniors from high drug costs and saving rural hospitals from devastating cuts. I look forward to fighting for its passage on the Senate floor.” 

The package included Senator Casey’s Protecting Seniors from High Drug Costs Act, which he introduced with Senator Cornyn (R-TX) earlier this year. The bipartisan bill would help bring down drug costs by prohibiting health plans and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) from charging Medicare Part D beneficiaries more in cost-sharing than the net cost of the drug. It will lower cost-sharing for patients and help them afford all the prescriptions they need while ensuring that PBMs and plans are not engaging in unfair practices. 

The package also included a provision to delay impending cuts to the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program, which helps offset uncompensated care costs for hospitals that provide care to large numbers of Medicaid beneficiaries and uninsured patients. The program was facing more than $8 billion in cuts just for the next fiscal year, which would have undermined the financial viability of many of the Nation’s safety net hospitals and threatened access to care for some of the most vulnerable Americans. Earlier this year, Senator Casey led a letter with Senator Lankford (R-OK) and 49 colleagues urging Senate leadership to prevent these drastic cuts.

Also included in the package was an extension of funding for outreach and assistance to low-income Medicare beneficiaries through State Health Insurance and Assistance Programs (SHIPs). At a Finance Committee hearing last month, Senator Casey pushed for the extension of this funding. 

The full list of legislation in the package can be found here. The package now can move to the Senate floor.