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Local

Bustos: It's time to lower drug prices

Cheri Bustos
Cheri Bustos

No one should have to choose between buying groceries or insulin, said Cindy Ramos, U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos' guest for the State of the Union address.

Ramos, of Moline, is a volunteer advocate with the American Diabetes Association, and knows first-hand the strain of high costs for necessary medications.

She found out she was pregnant after she lost her health insurance, and her insulin costs ballooned from $30 to $1,200 while she was waiting for Medicaid coverage.

Her daughter was born 2 months premature and weighed only 2 pounds and 15 ounces.

It's a story that's way too common, Bustos said Tuesday, prior to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address. The No. 1 issue she's heard from constituents is accessible healthcare.

"We have Americans all over this country who are worried about this," the East Moline Democrat said.

Lowering the cost of prescription drugs needs to be addressed, Bustos said.

“Americans are worried, and they have good reason. As drug prices skyrocket, people who depend on prescription medication, like Cindy Ramos, often find themselves choosing between rationing their insulin or paying the bills.

“House Democrats have passed the boldest prescription drug bill in a generation. As the president plans to address the nation, I hope he considers joining us in working to make life-saving medication more accessible for all."

In December, the House passed the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which would allow the government to directly negotiate drug prices for Medicare recipients as well as expand dental, vision and hearing coverage for them. The bill isn't expected to be picked up by the Senate.

Bustos said she feels good about what Democrats have been able to accomplish in the House, but it's a problem having Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell live up to his self-proclaimed "grim reaper" title vowing to kill legislation that furthers Democratic initiatives.

Bustos' 17th Congressional District covers Carroll, Fulton, Henderson, Henry, Jo Daviess, Knox, Mercer, Rock Island, Stephenson, Warren and Whiteside counties, and parts of Peoria, Tazewell and Winnebago counties.

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