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PHAN Statement on Passage of Build Back Better in the House

November 19, 2021

Today, the Build Back Better package was passed in the U.S. House. Antoinette Kraus, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, released the following statement in response:

“The passage of Build Back Better in the U.S. House is a tremendous step forward for hardworking Pennsylvania families. If passed by the Senate, Build Back Better will provide much needed relief for people struggling with high prescription prices, make healthcare premiums more affordable, and expand care for seniors and people with disabilities.

If the legislation is passed by the Senate, drug corporations will be required to negotiate for lower prices for some drugs for the first time, and there will be caps on what seniors on Medicare can be forced to pay out-of-pocket for medicines. Drug corporations will face the first-ever penalties for raising the price of prescription medicines faster than the rate of inflation. Although this bill is not nearly as robust as previous versions considered in Congress, the legislation provides a solid foundation for expanding affordability and increasing access in the future.

In addition to the landmark drug pricing reforms, the nearly 340,000 Pennsylvanians who buy their own health insurance through the marketplace will continue to pay significantly less for their insurance premiums. Build Back Better makes historic investments in home- and community-based care for Pennsylvania’s seniors and people with disabilities and improves the quality and wages of caregiving jobs. Build Back Better also ensures mothers have Medicaid coverage for the year following birth, makes the CHIP program permanent, and expands Medicare to include hearing benefits.

We applaud the members of the Pennsylvania delegation who supported Build Back Better despite ongoing pressure from pharmaceutical corporations and other special interests: Representatives Wild, Cartwright, Lamb, Dean, Evans, Scanlon, Boyle, Houlahan, and Doyle. It’s now up to the Senate to move quickly to pass the Build Back Better bill.”