October Update
 
 
Dear Neighbors, 

This month was National Principals Month and National Fire Prevention Month. I visited North Salem High School, where Principal Sara Leroy does a fantastic job supporting the 1,900 plus students who call North Salem home. 

I also got to visit with Kelly Schmidt, who started earlier this year as Wilsonville High School’s new Principal, she is doing a great job keeping up Wilsonville High School’s 94% graduation rate.

I visited the Jefferson Fire Department and met with firefighters there who recently received a grant from FEMA that is helping them continue to serve rural communities.

I had a great tour of the Keizer Fire District. These men and women in fire departments across the country work hard to help prevent fires. We can do our part by checking our smoke detectors and educating ourselves on what to do in case of fire. Make sure to thank your local firefighters and principals for the important work that they do! 

For too long, seniors and families in Oregon have been crippled by the soaring cost of prescriptions that they need to live healthy lives. According to AARP, the average annual cost of prescription drugs rose nearly 58 percent between 2012 to 2017. This is totally unacceptable and no American should have to pay an arm and a leg for their medication. That's why I spoke on the House floor last week in support of HR3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act.  

It is high time that our struggling seniors are given the right to negotiate drug costs like we have in commercial plans, the VA, DOD and Medicaid. Price negotiation is a free market principle that our country embraces in almost every other aspect of life. 

H.R. 3 also limits Medicare part D out of pocket drug costs to $2,000 a year. We must make sure that seniors can afford their medicine and are able to avoid costly hospital stays. Finally, there is an effort to limit the inflationary cost increases of drugs that have been on the market for a long time and improve price increase transparency so we can shed light on what is going on. 

Last week, in my Energy and Commerce committee mark-up of HR 3, my bipartisan BIOSIM Act was the only amendment added to the Lower Drug Costs Now Act. My bill will offer greater incentives for the creation of biosimilar drugs which are lower cost generic versions of biologic drugs. Biologics are often used by those with rare diseases and can be extremely expensive. More generic versions of biologics will save Oregonians money and save lives! I spoke in committee about this bill before it passed unanimously.



On Monday I voted on the floor for the Public Disclosure of Drug Discounts Act. This bill would be a commonsense step to lowering the cost of prescription drugs by requiring greater transparency from pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). These are the middlemen who negotiate prices for three-fourths of the medications prescribed in the United States. By shedding light on the interactions between PBMs and drug companies, we can start to address the root causes of our prescription drug affordability crisis.


If you or a loved one get your health insurance through Medicare, your annual open enrollment period-the time when you can change your coverage-began on October 15th and continues through December 7th. During this time, you can review your existing coverage, compare traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans or enroll in coverage for 2020.

Visit https://www.medicare.gov or OregonHealthCare.gov for more information on Medicare open enrollment. 

If you or a loved one purchase your own health insurance through the exchange, open enrollment begins tomorrow. The enrollment period this year is shorter than in years past and ends on December 15th. This means that if you purchase your own health insurance, you can now buy or change your plan for 2020. 

Visit HealthCare.gov before December 15th to compare plans, check your eligibility and purchase coverage. You can also visit OregonHealthCare.gov or call 855-268-3767 for questions about plans. 

I will be hosting a telephone town hall at 6pm PST on December 4th. Sign up here to participate. I want to hear from you! 

Sincerely,

(signed)

Kurt Schrader
Member of Congress

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