New Trump rule helps consumers

New federal rule puts in place idea championed by Sen. Charles Grassley

For a great many Americans, finding the money to pay for the health care they and family members need is a major problem. Even people with excellent insurance coverage are finding that the copays and large deductibles they must fund out of their own pockets are an increasing burden.

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley has been a strong voice in Congress for an array of legislation designed to help keep the cost of health care as low as possible. The Iowa Republican is especially concerned about the escalation in the prices consumers must pay for prescription drugs. He has worked in a bipartisan fashion to make sure that less costly options for generic drugs are as widely available as possible. Grassley is also a strong believer that more price competition in the drug industry will benefit the public by making high price tags for prescription medicines harder for companies to sustain.

In 2018, Grassley teamed with U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., to sponsor legislation that would have mandated that the advertising from drug companies targeted at the general public include the price of the medicines being touted.

In championing that bill, the senators pointed out that each year drug companies spend $6 billion on such ads aimed directly at consumers. According to the information provided by Grassley’s office, the average person encounters nine such sales pitches each day in an array of media. The goal of these publicity campaigns is to encourage people to request that their doctors consider specific medications in developing a treatment plan for them or family members.

The legislation Grassley and Durbin advocated passed the Senate in August 2018 but did not end up becoming law. Fortunately, the Trump administration has not let this useful idea be dropped. On May 8, the federal government issued a final rule that will make the inclusion of prices in drug company ads a legal requirement. That provision takes place in just under 60 days.

Grassley and Durban both welcomed the new federal rule enthusiastically.

“There is zero price transparency in the U.S. health care system,” Grassley said in a statement issued May 8. “In our system of free enterprise, competition and transparency drives innovation, higher quality and lower costs. … When there’s no transparency, there’s no price comparison. … Price transparency is a critical remedy to help cure the high costs of prescription drugs in America.”

The Messenger strongly agrees.

We applaud the President Trump and his team for making certain the sensible proposal Grassley and Durbin advocated is now being implemented. We also commend Grassley for his unrelenting hard work to make health care more affordable for Americans.