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Lowering health care costs, drug prices, remain top policy priorities

Written by Diane Archer

A new poll conducted for Arnold Ventures reveals that, across party lines, a majority of voters continue to see health care costs as the top issue that Congress needs to address. And, an overwhelming majority of voters say drug prices are unreasonable. Members of Congress who do not take big steps to lower health care costs and drug prices should be concerned about constituent support.

Voters want Congress to address drug prices in the next two years. More than eight in ten (84 percent) want Congress to rein in prices. And, nearly half (45 percent) say drug prices are very unreasonable.

Nearly three in four voters (74 percent) say that they would be less supportive of their Congressional representatives if they did not support drug price legislation that brings down costs. Twice as many voters want the federal government to limit prices than to try to increase competition in the prescription drug marketplace. Even Republican voters substantially favor federal government drug price regulation.

Eight in ten voters support drug importation from Canada. (Already, millions of Americans buy their drugs from abroad.)  And 84 percent support the government issuing licenses to other drug companies so that they can manufacture high-priced drugs that are patented.

Voters also strongly favor Medicare drug price negotiation for costly drugs where there is no competition. Nearly nine in ten (87 percent) support drug price negotiation, even when told that it could lead to less research and development and rationing. Two-thirds of voters also support international reference pricing–setting prices at the price other wealthy countries pay–if negotiations fail, as opposed to nine percent who oppose reference pricing.

Voters recognize that pharmaceutical companies are most to blame for high prescription drug prices and favor them least among companies responsible for contributing to high drug prices. Three in four voters give the pharmaceutical companies significant responsibility for high drug prices.

The pollsters conclude: “The intensity of the public’s frustration, impatience with delay or half-measures, rejection of the strongest arguments against reforms, and willingness to hold members of Congress accountable is a serious warning sign to policymakers who fail to address excessive prescription drug prices and overall costs.”

Immigration and the economy fall next in line after drug prices as policy priorities.

If you want Congress to rein in drug prices, please sign this petition.

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