Greg Gianforte Just Voted Against Reducing Your Prescription Drug Costs, Against Medicare Recipients

Maybe it’s better when Congressman Gianforte doesn’t come to work after all. On Thursday, given the opportunity to rein in massive drug costs and help consumers—both those on Medicare and those who are not—pay more reasonable prices for the prescription drugs.

And, of course, Gianforte, who has voted for critical issues like measures protecting the suffering owners of private jets, voted no.

The bill’s aims were clear:

The bill, known as H.R. 3 — a numerical designation that reflects its position on Democrats’ priority list — would make significant changes to the federal Medicare program, which provides health coverage to older Americans. It passed largely on party lines, 230 to 192, and includes provisions to create new vision, dental and hearing benefits, and caps out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries at $2,000.

The Congressional Budget Office and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services conclude that H.R. 3 “would result in hundreds of billions of dollars in savings for Medicare enrollees, Medicaid, and American households generally.”

As Vox points out, the bill Gianforte voted against would not only save $450 billion over a decade, but expand dental, vision, and hearing coverage for Medicare recipients:

This bill, also known as H.R.3, the Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, would dramatically change the power that the US government has to directly negotiate drug prices for Medicare recipients — resulting in more than $450 billion in spending reductions for the program over the course of a decade. These savings would be offset, in part, by costs tied to expanding dental, vision and hearing coverage for Medicare recipients, a policy change also included in the bill, according to an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.

By overturning a 2003 policy change that prevents the government from negotiating over drugs covered by Medicare, the Democratic bill would leverage the size of the Medicare program to compel drug companies to reduce prices and penalize companies that refuse to participate, a win for everyone other than Big Pharma. In fact, the bill caps the negotiated prices of drugs to levels much closer to those of other countries:

The negotiated price can’t be higher than 120% of the average cost for the given drug in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom. For drugs not sold in those countries, there’s an alternative formula based on their average wholesale prices in the U.S.

Notably, the measure Gianforte voted against specifically singles out insulin, a drug that has risen so dramatically in cost in recent years that almost half of people have resorted to reducing their dosage or even skipping it altogether:

Costs continue to rise, so much so that almost half of people with diabetes have temporarily skipped taking their insulin, according to a 2018 survey by UpWell Health, a Salt Lake City company that provides home delivery of medications and supplies for chronic conditions.

This vote is everything you need to know about Congressman Gianforte: while he’ll rail against the high prices of drugs and pretend to be concerned about Medicare, he’s not willing to demand that pharmaceutical companies that made billions in profits while patients who can’t afford drugs died negotiate fairly with the American people and keep the cost of prescription drugs just a tiny bit more manageable.

Given the chance to reduce the government’s debt, put more money in the pockets of Americans, and even keep some of them alive, Gianforte voted to line the pockets of companies making obscene profits.

It would be wrong in this instance, however, to say that Gianforte can’t be trusted. He can absolutely be trusted to always put profit above people and corporate health above ours.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

9 Comments

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  • Did you take the time to find out why he voted that way….It would be interesting to know…Also I find it sad that you show your bias by photo shopping a picture of him with all kinds of wrinkles on the side of his face…discusting

  • I would like to know the entire story, not just you OPINION on it. There is only one way to reduce the cost of prescriptions and Greg Gianforte know is. America must be like all other countries and STOP allowing lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies. Nothing else will permanently reduce prescription prices.

    • Lawsuits are not why prescription drug prices are high – it’s the greed of Big Pharma. The only thing that will lower these prices is if Medicare is allowed to negotiate them, which will create competition among the companies. Right now they all collaborate to keep the prices as high as possible! There have been multiple reports on this.

      Check it out – it’s been all over the news for years.

    • The story is literally right here. And Gianforte voted against us. Again.

      I would love to see the rationale for why the poor pharmaceutical companies should be exempted from lawsuits. Given the number of people they have harmed and killed over the years while the threat of lawsuits has existed, it’s hard to understand how anyone could think we’d be better off with them legally protected like this.

  • I think many drug companies are a huge problem in healthcare as well as PBMs (pharmacy benefit managers), who many times are an unnecessary 3rd party who “manages” the prescription portion of health plans. I don’t agree with this cartel that has been created but at the same time I do not believe more government regulation to be a great answer either. I am not disagreeing with you but I don’t know what would happen with this legislation (ie poorer quality measures, lack of further R & D). I am a Nurse Practitioner and I think it starts with us as health care providers: I can get a vial of humalog for $68 for my patients. I can also find lantus vials for around $200. If that’s too much we can do 70/30 insulin which is much trickier to dose but is a great savings alternative. I work with a local pharmacy who helps me with caring for my patients. I believe it’s up to health care providers to be able to take the time with their patients and change the way we practice, the way we prescribe. That’s why we started a DPC practice or Direct Primary Care practice. This equals direct contracts with our patients – no insurers, no hospitals, no incentivized care. A small monthly fee ($59 usually) gets you unlimited care, appointments when you need them, 24/7 access to your provider, discounted labs ($11 for a yearly lab panel), discounted imaging and procedures. This incentivizes me to keep my patients happy and healthy and incentivizes my patients to be more accountable as they are now slightly vested but also know what prices are going to be before they act on their health. I think we take the people out of healthcare that are making money off of your health and putting it back into patients hands and with help from people who actually care, I believe we can create power to change the system.

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