Michigan lawmakers introduce plan to lower prescription costs and doctor visits


FILE- In this July 10, 2018, file photo bottles of medicine ride on a belt at a mail-in pharmacy warehouse in Florence, N.J. Drug companies are still raising prices for brand-name prescription medicines, just not as often or by as much as they used to, according to an Associated Press analysis. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Michigan lawmakers unveiled a new plan today aimed at lowering out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications and doctor visits.

The Health Over Profits for Everyone package also includes increasing increasing accountability for pharmaceutical companies.

“No one should be put in the horrific position of having to choose between paying their mortgage or getting their prescriptions,” said state Rep. Kyra Bolden, D-Southfield.

Prescription drug costs have continued to rise dramatically in recent years, with price increases rapidly outpacing wage growth and inflation, according to House Democrats.

Part of the plan would include creating a Prescription Drug Consumer Protection Board to hold manufacturers accountable.

As of 2016, Michigan had the fifth-highest prescription drug costs in the nation, according to a press release by the lawmakers who introduced the H.O.P.E. package.

“Bad actors, driven by corporate greed, have preyed on the people of our state for far too long,” said state Rep. Laurie Pohutsky, D-Livonia.

Legislation would include capping the cost of co-pays for primary care and behavioral health visits to $5 and opening Michigan to the importation of Canadian pharmaceuticals.

“It’s time for us to focus on big, innovative solutions that finally put the needs of Michiganders ahead of corporate profits,” said state Rep. Angela Witwer, Delta Township.

House Democrats plan to unveil more plans throughout October to expand access to health care for Michigan residents.

“Our health care system is broken, and it’s going to take a lot to fix it,” said state Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo.

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