IF YOU’VE had trouble paying for prescription medicine for yourself or family members — regardless if you are insured or not — you aren’t alone. Americans pay three times more for medications than people in other countries. As the cost of lifesaving medications like insulin skyrocket, Granite Staters face impossible tradeoffs, like deciding whether to pay rent or to purchase the medications that keep them alive.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further laid bare the inequities in our health system, and now more than ever we must be working together to lower health care costs for everyone. Particularly, we must focus on communities disproportionately impacted by the high cost of drugs: seniors, women, communities of color, and even children are especially vulnerable to these skyrocketing costs.

It doesn’t always have to be this way. Working to lower the cost of prescription drugs is more than just the right thing to do — it’s overwhelmingly popular with voters across the political spectrum. A January 2021 Morning Consult poll found that 96% of voters said lowering drug prices is an important challenge facing Americans. Despite countless promises to take action, for four long years former President Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress blocked proposed Democratic reform addressing this very issue at every turn. Instead, they rewarded Big Pharma companies — and their CEOs — with record profits.

In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Joe Biden struck a markedly different tone: “Let’s give Medicare the power to save hundreds of billions of dollars by negotiating lower drug prescription prices,” he said. “Let’s do it now.” Democrats in the House of Representatives are following his lead.

In late April, House Democrats reintroduced H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. This bill would allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices on behalf of all Americans — not just those on Medicare — that is the single most effective way to reduce drug prices. It also establishes strong protections against price gouging, and redirects more funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for life-saving research and development. Finally, H.R.3 would also penalize drug companies that increase prices faster than the rate of inflation, a shockingly common practice.

Insights from a Gallup survey show the American public supports the provisions in H.R. 3 meant to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Separate polling conveys that 93% of respondents — Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike — support giving Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices.

I have met with New Hampshire residents who ration their medications or delay care because the costs are too high. Legislation such as H.R. 3 could change that reality for millions of people and reform is long overdue. Now is the time for Congress to take action and pass this bill.

Jayme H. Simões is chair of Protect Our Care NH and lives in Concord.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

WE OFTEN hear those who protest various political or social ills described as fringe, extreme right or left, angry, or other negative comments meant to marginalize whatever group is out of favor with the media and their political allies. Governor Chris Sununu is a too-frequent offender in th…

Monday, October 11, 2021
Sunday, October 10, 2021
Friday, October 08, 2021

DOING THE SAME THING over and over while expecting a different result is one definition of insanity. According to a Sept. 24th Union Leader editorial, however, the “very definition of insanity” would be — among ardent supporters of the status quo — to do something different: grant the curren…

Thursday, October 07, 2021

A FEW YEARS BACK I met a couple who had recently returned from Mexico for extensive dental work. Turns out it is much more affordable in many countries where Americans go to avoid prohibitive costs (and that is factoring travel expenses!). In fact, there are travel companies that specialize …

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

THE LAST TWO YEARS have been exhausting for all Americans and the entire human family. Between a deadly pandemic, the catastrophic environmental impact of climate change, and growing partisan political division, I think I can speak for all in saying we deserve a rest. One benefit of life in …

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

SEN. CINDY ROSENWALD’S Friday, Sept 24 op-ed falsely assumes Governor Chris Sununu is anti-woman because he does not agree with her. She falsely assumes women have nowhere to go for STD treatment and cancer screenings if Planned Parenthood closes. Untrue.

IN THE Halloween movie franchise, the antagonist, Michael Myers, is “killed” no fewer than 128 times in 11 films made over the course of 44 years (1978-2022). Of course, he never truly dies. You know it. I know it. Everyone in the audience knows it. And yet there is seemingly an endless supp…