WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — On Friday, House lawmakers heard from a panel of patients from across the country.
Each patient is paying thousands of dollars out of their pockets to buy the drugs they need to survive. They’re pleading with Republicans and Democrats to find common ground on several bills on the table.
Sa’ra Skipper says she and her sister started to ration their insulin because of its high price.
“This is unacceptable,” Skipper said. “I couldn’t afford my single dose of insulin, so my sister risked her life, sharing hers. She went into diabetic ketoacidosis, had to be hospitalized for four days, the veins in her body blue and she had to have a pick line into her neck.”
Skipper and other patients say Congress needs to step in and pass reforms to bring costs down.
“Price gouging is killing people. These pharmaceuticals are committing murder and getting away with it,” Skipper said.
At the hearing, lawmakers in both parties promised to fight back.
But Republican Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio also warned of the cost of too much regulation.
“We have this great system where we have innovation. We do get the greatest drugs brought to market. We got to make sure that continues,” Jordan said.
Despite Jordan’s reservations, the House is advancing plans to bring cheaper generic brands to the market.
In the Senate, a plan to slash payments for Medicaid and Medicare is headed to the floor for a vote.
Joe Grogan, the White House director of domestic policy, says President Donald Trump is celebrating the recent progress.
He says the Senate plan alone will save taxpayers billions of dollars.
“We support all those solutions,” Grogan said. “They’re taking advantage of taxpayers, so we want to end all of this gaming.”
Grogan says the White House is negotiating details with the Senate ahead of their vote. He says he’s confident reforms are coming.
“I’m optimistic we’re going to see real progress in the House and the Senate,” Grogan said.
Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has not confirmed if he’s backing the recent plans.
The White House says an executive order isn’t off the table if Congress fails to act.