Access to affordable healthcare is a basic right that all Virginians should have. However, the skyrocketing cost of insurance premiums and prescription medicine is driving up the cost of living. From medical bills, to the cost of everyday prescriptions, too many Virginians are living in a system that is set up to make a profit at the cost of people’s health and wellbeing.
1 out of every 4 Virginians who depend on prescription medicines cannot take those drugs because they cannot afford them. This problem has only gotten worse, as inflation rose more than 7% between 2020 and 2021 across the United States, and has grown to more than 8% in 2022. And the price of life-saving medicines has risen even faster. In 2021 alone, drug companies hiked the price of more than 1,100 medicines and 90% of the increases were above the rate of inflation. According to AARP, the average Virginian fills 11 prescriptions per year, and the average cost of a prescription in Virginia rose 26.3% between 2015 and 2019, while the average annual income only rose 16.7%.
On top of these alarming statistics, health insurance premiums in Virginia have increased 130% in just six years. Meanwhile, wages have remained stagnant, making it even more difficult to manage the costs of prescriptions. Without policy change in Richmond, medicine and insurance costs will continue to take up a greater share of Virginia residents’ budgets.
On top of these alarming statistics, health insurance premiums in Virginia have increased 130% in just six years, while wages have remained stagnant, making it even more difficult to manage the costs of prescriptions. Without some kind of intervention, medicine and insurance costs will continue to take up a greater share of Virginia residents’ budgets.
Virginia needs a Prescription Drug Affordability Board to make medicines more affordable for Virginia residents and rein in out-of-control price hikes. A Prescription Drug Affordability Board would be a small, independent, group of health care experts that evaluates the affordability of a limited number of high-cost prescription drugs and sets reasonable payment rates to protect consumers from harmful costs.
- A Prescription Drug Affordability Board would build upon legislation passed by the General Assembly unanimously in 2021 to establish prescription drug price transparency. In 2022, Sen. Chap Petersen introduced SB 376 to create an affordability board – a legislative effort backed by AARP, Freedom Virginia and other Virginia groups.
- Freedom Virginia is a part of the Virginians for Affordable Medicine coalition and is a strong supporter of creating a Prescription Drug Affordability Board in the Commonwealth.
Following the pandemic, we saw how health emergencies can inflict massive damage on our individual and community economic wellbeing. We believe that no one should have to cut their pills to afford a life-saving medicine, or desperately search for expired pills just to stay healthy. We’re fighting for an affordable Virginia, where hardworking people deserve access to medicine.
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