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AARP Disappointed By Senate Vote Against Lower Prescription Drug Prices

SUMMARY: The U.S. Senate Tuesday rejected an amendment to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that would help make prescription drugs more affordable by allowing for the safe and legal importation of lower priced drugs from abroad.  The bipartisan amendment, endorsed by AARP and sponsored by Senators Dorgan, Snowe, McCain, Grassley and Stabenow, would have improved competition and helped to bring down the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs.


The Senate also rejected a second prescription drug importation amendment sponsored by Sen. Lautenberg, which would have created an unnecessary roadblock for prescription drug importation.  In a move designed to block importation, the amendment prohibited importation of prescription drugs unless the Secretary of Health and Human Services can certify that it is safe to do so.  Despite the fact that safety provisions are already built into the AARP-endorsed Dorgan-Snowe amendment, this version is designed to create administrative hurdles to effectively prevent importation.

Alaska

VOTED YES ON RX IMPORTATION AMENDMENT TO LOWER DRUG COSTS

VOTED NO ON RX IMPORTATION AMENDMENT TO LOWER DRUG COSTS

Begich, Mark

X

Murkowski, Lisa

X

** How a legislator votes on issues is only one factor in evaluating his or her legislative performance, which should also include such things as constituency services and committee work.

Alaska

VOTED YES ON AMENDMENT TO BLOCK LOWER-COST RX DRUGS

VOTED NO ON AMENDMENT TO BLOCK LOWER-COST RX DRUGS

Begich, Mark

X

Murkowski, Lisa

X

** How a legislator votes on issues is only one factor in evaluating his or her legislative performance, which should also include such things as constituency services and committee work.


“AARP commends Sen. Begich for voting to lower the cost of prescription drugs by voting for safe and legal importation without unnecessary roadblocks to this money-saving provision,” said Ken Osterkamp, AARP Alaska State Director.  “And while we recognize Sen. Murkowski’s support for the Dorgan-Snowe importation amendment, we are disappointed that she also effectively voted to block this provision from ever taking effect,” said Osterkamp. “The Lautenberg amendment is an unnecessary roadblock that would prevent importation and maintain the status quo of skyrocketing drug prices.”

Making prescription drugs more affordable has long been one of AARP’s top priorities.  The Dorgan-Snowe-McCain-Grassley-Stabenow importation amendment would have been a first step toward lowering the cost of medications in this country.  AARP will continue to fight for this amendment and against the unnecessary roadblocks that could prevent its implementation.

8

AARP notified the 111th Congress that it was tracking roll call votes on key legislation important to its nearly 40 million members and reporting the outcomes of these votes back to its members and all older Americans. “When Americans understand the issues and where their lawmakers stand, they can make smart decisions.  AARP Alaska will be here to give our 97,000 members in Alaska the most accurate information we can,” Osterkamp concluded.

AARP members and all older Americans can see how their representatives voted on health care reform by going to www.aarp.org/governmentwatch.  AARP’s Government Watch is a one-stop online portal that will be tracking and publicizing every designated key vote on issues facing Americans age 50-plus.  A “Key Vote Summary” highlighting votes on these issues will be published at the end of each congressional session.

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