Mark Pryor on Health Care

Last Updated : Nov 15, 2012

Summary

Medicare Part D

In June of 2003, Senator Pryor attempted to alter the prescription drug bill by adding an amendment to allow for the reimportation of prescription drugs from other countries. He stated that without reimportation and international price competition, the federal government simply won’t have the money down the road to ensure that seniors get the kind of coverage and access to treatments they need and the value of the legislation will erode over time.

That same month, Senator Pryor announced his intention to support the legislation, stating that while it was not perfect, it al least acknowledged the problem in prescription drugs. He added that Congress would likely have to revisit the issued in the coming years to address some of these problems.

By November of that year, Senator Pryor was completely opposed to the final version of the Medicare part D bill, stating that it did nothing to lower the cost of drugs in America. He refered to it as flawed legislation that put Medicare in danger, and will increase the cost of drugs.

Drug Reimportation

In 2004, Senator Pryor supported an amendment to allow for the reimportation of FDA approved drugs. He stated that Americans continue to pay more for their drugs then any other people in the entire world, and that allowing individuals to buy prescription drugs from Canada means more money in our pockets instead of the pharmaceutical CEOs. Specifically the bill would require wholesalers and pharmacists to register with the FDA, pay capped fees to support the costs of the program and mandates that drugs are re-labeled in English to comply with FDA requirements.

In 2005, Senator Pryor supported the Affordable Health Care Act to again allow for drug reimportation. He stated that he was increasingly frustrated with those in Washington who continue to watch families struggle with the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs everyday and still not want lift the ban on safer importation

SCHIP

In 2007, when President Bush vetoed the SCHIP reauthorization Senator Pryor asserted that is showed that President Bush was out of touch with the people of Arkansas. He also stated that our children’s future should be this nation’s top priority, and the President has shown their health is not a priority for him.

Senator Pryor supported the 2009 reauthorization and expansion of the SCHIP program. He stated that expanding the plan was a moral issue and opponents shoudl not turn it into an ideological debate. He added that children deserve a healthy start in life regardless of their parent’s wealth.

Affordable Care Act

In December of 2009, Senator Pryor stated that the legislation will will drive down costs for families, small businesses, and government; protect and expand an individual’s choice of doctors and insurance plans without any government interference; and assure affordable, reliable healthcare for every Arkansan. He also stated that it was in the best interest of the country and that it laid a foundation for more affordable care in the future.

On March 23, 2010, Senator supported the Affordable Care Act, stating that it laid a solid foundation for more affordable, reliable and accessible health care. He listed a number of provisions that will go into effect in the following years including millions of people getting insurance and benefitting from tax credits while more there will be more competition in the insurance marketplace, and meaningful steps were taken to reduce the deficit. He asserted that he was proud to be part of this monumental effort.

On March 25, 2010, Senator Pryor decided not to support the reconciliation package to pass the final form of the legislation. He stated that on balance, the package fell short of the criteria of making health care more affordable, reliable, and accessible. He also stated that he was concered about provisions that would double Arkansas’s cost of providing Medicaid to new enrollees, impose -- for the first time -- a payroll tax on unearned income, significantly increase fines for employers who may not be able to afford health coverage for their employees, and increase the cost of the legislation by $65 billion. He stated that it is because of these reasons that he could not support the additional package.

in June of 2012, Senator Pryor reacted to the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act by noting that while the bill was not perfect, it was already making health care more affordable, accessible and reliable. It is benefiting children, adults and seniors throughout our state.

Insurance Competition and Transparency Act

As an addendum to the Affordable Care Act, Senator Pryor introduced the Insurance Competition and Transparency Act in August of 2010. The legislation would give the FTC the freedom to conduct studies, prepare reports, and release information relating to insurance companies without first receiving a written request from Senate Committees. It would also allow the FTC to police anti-competitive practices of all insurance companies, regardless of whether or not they claim nonprofit status.

Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act

In May of 2011, Senator Pryor introduced the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act. The legislation would prohibit Pharmacy Benefit Managers from mandating consumers use a specific pharmacy and require a PBM to notify the plans sponsor before selling or using claims data. The legislation would also increase transparency by requiring a PBM to disclose information related to manufacturer rebates and discounts they are negotiating on the plan’s behalf, exclusivity arrangements with drug companies, as well as other practices the industry employs to increase profits. Senator Pryor stated that Americans already pay far more for their prescription drugs than individuals in other countries and we don’t need middlemen adding to the problem. He added that the legislation would ensure that patients can at least choose which pharmacy to shop at and it increases transparency to prevent PBMs from overcharging patients.

 

Amendment to Medicare Part D

In June of 2003, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting an amendment that he was introducing to the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan known as Part D. The amendment would allow for the reimportation of FDA approved drugs. He noted that American pharmacies and wholesalers should be able to buy prescription medicines from the pharmaceutical industry under the same favorable terms in which they are sold to Canadians.

 

Senate Passage of Part D

In June of 2003, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting that while he had reservations about the Medicare Part D package, he intended to support the legislation. He also stated that the bill did not address all the problems with prescription drugs, but did acknowledge that it was a problem.

 

Floor Speech in Opposition to Part D

In November of 2003, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting a floor citing his intention to vote against the final version of the Medicare Part D legislation. He stated that it did nothing to lower the cost of prescription drugs, that it It takes $12 billion away from Medicare and gives it to private insurers and then forces Medicare to compete with heavily subsidized HMO’s, and that it did not facilitate the reimportation of cheap drugs from other countries. In a separate statement, he asserted that the legislation was flawed, put Medicare in danger, and increase the cost of drugs.

 

Drug Reimportation Amendment

In April of 2004, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting his support for an amendment to allow for FDA approved drug reimportation. He stated that Americans continue to pay more for their drugs then any other people in the entire world,” and that allowing individuals to buy prescription drugs from Canada means more money in our pockets instead of the pharmaceutical CEOs.

 

Affordable Health Care Act (2005)

In January of 2005, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting his support for legislation called the Affordable Care Act. Specifically he noted the drug reimportation provisions of the legislation as pivotal to bringing down costs.

 

The Bush Veto of SCHIP

In October of 2007, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting his opposition to President Bush's veto of the SCHIP reauthorization. He stated that it showed that the President was out of touch with the needs of working Arkansas.

 

Support for SCHIP Expansion

In January of 2009, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting his support for the passage of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. He described a story in which the Arkansas state program helped residents of that state.

 

Support for the Affordable Care Act

In December of 2009, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting his support for the Affordable Care Act. He stated that the legislation will will drive down costs for families, small businesses, and government; protect and expand an individual’s choice of doctors and insurance plans without any government interference; and assure affordable, reliable healthcare for every Arkansan. He also stated that it was in the best interest of the country and that it laid a foundation for more affordable care in the future.

 

A Solid Foundation

In May of 2010, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting his support for the Affordable Care Act. The statement also lays out the benefits that the plan will put in place over the next few years. He also states that the legislation lays a solid foundation for the future of more affordable health care.

 

Opposition to Reconciliation

On March 23, 2010, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting that he opposed the reconcilation passage of the health care reform law. He stated that on balance, the package falls short of the criteria of making health care more affordable, reliable, and accessible. He also expressed concerns over other provisions of the legislation that would double Arkansas cost of Medicaid.

 

Insurance Competition and Transparency Act

In August of 2010, Senator Pryor intoduced the Insurance Competition and Transparency Act which he stated was designed to strike down needless restrictions on existing FTC Authority to shed light on anticompetitive practices. The legisaltion was designed to give the FTC the freedom to conduct studies, prepare reports, and release information relating to insurance companies without first receiving a written request from the Senate Commerce or House Energy and Commerce Committees. And because many insurance companies have nonprofit status, the bill would eliminate the general exemption under the FTC Act for non-profit insurers. The FTC would be able to police anti-competitive practices of all insurance companies, regardless of whether or not they claim nonprofit status.

 

Pharmacy Benefit Managers

In May of 2011, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting his introduction of the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act to address the problem of Pharmacy Benefit Managers in driving up the costs of prescription drugs. He stated that the legisaltion would protect consumers from corporate middlemen and that anti-competitive practices among health care industry players, including PBMs, are an often-overlooked component of skyrocketing health care costs.

 

Analyzing the Ruling

In June of 2012, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting his support for the Affordable Care Act and stating that he would analyze the ruling and work in a bipartisan manner to improve health care. He stated that while the law was not perfect, it was already making health care more affordable, accessible and reliable and was benefiting children, adults and seniors throughout our state.

 

Voting Record

Repeal of Health Care Reform

In February of 2011, the Senate voted on repealing the 2009-2010 health care reform legislation. The attempt failed on a party line vote . Mark Pryor voted against repealing the health care reform legislation.

Mark Pryor voted against repealing the health care reform legislation.

2009-2010 Health Care Reform - Reconciliation

The 2009-2010 health care reform legislation passed through the Senate in three votes. The first was to end the filibuster, the second was to pass the Senate bill, and the third was to pass the reconciliation bill.

Due to the death of Senator Kennedy and the election of Senator Brown in Massachussetts, the Democrats no longer possessed the 60 vote majority to break a filibuster. A reconciliation bill was passed to unify the Senate and House version and to enact the legislation. Mark Pryor voted against passage of the reconciliation bill.

Mark Pryor voted against passage of the reconciliation bill.

2009-2010 Health Care Reform - Passage

After the cloture vote to end the filibuster, a vote was taken to pass the legislation called "Obamacare" by its opponents. Mark Pryor in favor of final passage of the legislation.

Mark Pryor in favor of final passage of the legislation.

2009-2010 Health Care Reform - Cloture Vote

The first vote in the health care reform process was for cloture on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009. This bill was different from the version that had recently passed through the House. Both votes went down party lines with all Democrats supporting the legislation and all Republicans opposing it. Mark Pryor voted in favor of the reform by voting for cloture.

Mark Pryor voted in favor of the reform by voting for cloture.

SCHIP

In addition to attempting overall health care reform, congress re-authorized SCHIP in 2009. SCHIP is a program to provide children with health care and fund it through tobacco taxes. The program passed with the full support of Democrats and roughly 1/4 of the Republicans. Mark Pryor voted in favor of SCHIP.

Mark Pryor voted in favor of SCHIP.

Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act sets up health requirements for tobacco products, sets labeling guidelines, requires tobacco companies to report the content of their products, and prescribes punishements for violating any rules. The measure passed the Senate 79-17. Mark Pryor voted in favor of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

Mark Pryor voted in favor of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

Amendment - Drug Reimportation

In July of 2006, a an amendment was voted on to prohibit the United States Customs and Border Protection from preventing an individual not in the business of importing a prescription drug from importing an FDA-approved prescription drug. Mark Pryor voted in favor of the amendment to prevent border patrol agents from taking prescription drugs from citizens crossing the border.

Mark Pryor voted in favor of the amendment to prevent border patrol agents from taking prescription drugs from citizens crossing the border.

Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003

The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 is sometimes called Medicare Part D. It was a sweeping reform that created plans for the senior citizens to purchase prescription drugs. The bill passed the Senate 54-44 Mark Pryor voted against Medicare Part D.

Mark Pryor voted against Medicare Part D.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-110; Bill Number-S 242; Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act of 2007 - Cosponsor

A bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to the importation of prescription drugs, and for other purposes.

Session-109; Bill Number-S 2354; Medicare Prescription Drug Gap Reduction Act of 2006 - Cosponsor

A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to reduce the coverage gap in prescription drug coverage under part D of such title based on savings to the Medicare program resulting from the negotiation of prescription drug prices.

Session-109; Bill Number-S 1580; Healthcare Equality and Accountability Act - Cosponsor

A bill to improve the health of minority individuals.

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