Rep. Elissa Slotkin's bill to lower prescription drug costs passes House

Bill aims to help bring drug costs down across board

WASHINGTON – Rep. Elissa Slotkin's Real-Time Benefits Act, designed to lower the cost of prescription drugs, passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The act would help lower out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs by giving patients and doctors real-time updates on the price of prescription drugs before they leave the doctor's office, Slotkin said.

By increasing price transparency, the bill also encourages competition to help bring drug costs down across the board, Slotkin said.

"The bill started with a very simple request from seniors in my district," Slotkin said Tuesday on the House floor. "People want to know how much a prescription will cost before they pick it up at the drug store, and they deserve to know that it's the best possible price that they can get. This bill does that very thing. It provides Medicare patients with the information they need about the cost of a prescription, whether there are generic alternatives, as well as the best pharmacy for the best deal before they even leave the doctor's office.

"Here's how it works: Insurers would be required to provide information to a common system, a 'real-time' benefits tool, which doctors would access through their electronic prescribing program. Doctors and patients could then sit together and receive real-time updates right in the doctor's office on the price of the drug based on the patient's insurance plan as well as the price of any other cheaper drugs available.

"Imagine if every time you went to the doctor, both you and your physician could see the differences in the prices of drugs. This is the all-American competition we need when it comes to our prescription drugs.

"To be clear, the cost of prescription drugs is the No. 1 issue I get asked about in my district. People come up to me in the grocery store, they grab my arm, they ask me why their medication has increased by 200% in cost in the past five years. Democrats and Republicans have both said the right things about the costs of prescription drugs. They have talked the talk. They now must walk the walk. I'm incredibly proud to have brought forth this bipartisan legislation tonight."

Here is Slotkin's interview with Local 4:

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.