Press Release

AFT President Randi Weingarten’s Statement on House Democrats’ Prescription Drug Plan

For Release: 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019


Elena Temple

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement after House Democrats yesterday passed H.R. 3, the Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, out of the House Ways and Means Committee, to address the rising cost of prescription drugs:

“President Trump promised action to combat the escalating cost of prescription drugs but has thus far done nothing. The House has now filled that vacuum by addressing the soaring cost of prescription drugs, which is forcing too many Americans into a terrifying reality, having to make desperate choices between getting lifesaving medications or paying for necessary daily expenses like rent, student loans or food. No one should forgo meds because of cost—not in the richest country in the world, and not so drug companies can get richer.

“These impossible choices—which are not unique to retirees—are plaguing too many American families. We must flip the script in this country to put people over profits: If medication is available, it should be affordable and accessible to anyone who needs it.

“With H.R. 3, House Democrats are providing a lifeline to working people with legislation that allows for cost negotiation and helps bring American drug prices in line with prices in other countries, in addition to capping out-of-pocket Medicare expenses. This bold measure, which recognizes that affordable healthcare is a right, not a luxury for the privileged few who can afford it, is a monumental shift for the way we do business in America. It will bring relief to millions of people who rely on medication to live their daily lives.    

“We thank Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone and House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott for their swift action. We will put the full force of our union’s 1.7 million educators, healthcare professionals and public employees behind this bill’s passage.”



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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.