Joyce blasts Pelosi over drug votes

U.S. Rep John Joyce, R-13th District, opposed U.S. House Speak­er Nancy Pelosi as she refused to hold individual votes on three measures that would lower prescription drug prices.

House bills to lower prescription drug prices (H.R. 965, H.R. 1499 and H.R. 938) all passed unanimously out of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce earlier this year.

However, Pelosi brought them to the floor for a vote Thursday as part of a broader package of legislation to bolster the Afford­able Care Act.

Joyce opposed the full bun­dle of bills Thursday because of his op­position to the Affordable Care Act, and urged Pelosi to bring the bipartisan prescription drug legislation to the floor without the “Obama­care bailout measures.”

“Through her actions the last two weeks, it’s clear Nancy Pelosi would rather try to score political points than make health care more affordable and accessible for patients,” a statement from Joyce read. “Last week she put forward a sham bill that does nothing to protect pre-existing conditions, and this week she sabotaged three perfectly good pieces of prescription drug pricing legislation by pairing them with measures that will continue to perpetuate the failed health care system that is Obamacare.”

Joyce has advocated for bipartisan reforms to lower prescription drug prices. Joyce has also repeatedly op­posed Obamacare, and this week cosponsored bi­partisan legislation to roll back its key components by repealing the “Cadillac tax” and delaying the “health insurance tax.”

The Washington Post reported House Democrats pushed through legislation Thursday to lower prescription drug prices, strengthen the Affordable Care Act and “most significantly — position themselves as the party on the side of health care consumers as the 2020 election approaches. … The 234-to-183 vote, with every Demo­crat and five Republ­icans casting ballots in favor, gave a partisan hue even to three strategies to boost the availability of generic drugs that initially attracted GOP support.

The Post reported that the measures were merged, however, “with measures that would block several Trump administration policies that Democrats characterize as ‘sabotaging’ the ACA. The result was a barbed debate: Democrats accused Republicans of disregarding consumers’ need for affordable, quality health care, and Republi­cans ac­cused Democrats of thwarting a rare opportunity for bipartisanship.”

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.