New law to lower prescription drug costs will help Kansas residents

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist., said allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug costs will help put money back in residents’ pockets.

Rep. Davids recently held a roundtable discussion on new provisions to lower the cost of prescription drugs in Kansas. Davids also joined Glenda DuBoise, state director of AARP Kansas for a virtual town hall to speak directly to Kansas seniors about these new cost-saving measures.

Americans pay two to three times what citizens of other countries pay for prescription drugs. Thanks to a new federal law, beginning next year several policies will go into effect to help Kansans afford their medications, including a cap on insulin prices for Medicare beneficiaries, rebates if pharmaceutical companies raise prices faster than inflation, and the first-ever out-of-pocket cap on seniors’ medication costs.

“There’s no reason Kansans should pay so much more for medicines than people in other countries, and we’re finally starting to change that,” Rep. Davids said. “Allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug costs has been a priority of mine since coming to Congress, and I am so glad we were finally able to get it done. These new provisions will put money back in Kansans’ pockets and reduce the stress of having to choose between life-saving medications and other necessary expenses.”

New, key provisions that will save Kansans’ money on prescription drugs include:

• Capping insulin copays at $35 per month for Medicare beneficiaries. An estimated 28,000 Kansas Medicare beneficiaries used insulin in 2020. Starting next year, their costs will be capped at $35 a month for life-saving insulin.

• Capping seniors’ out-of-pocket costs at $2,000. Starting in 2024, Medicare prescription drug plans must offer improved financial protections and in 2025, a $2,000 out-of-pocket cap will take effect. Each year, that will benefit about 18,000 Kansas Medicare beneficiaries who would otherwise have out-of-pocket costs above the cap—and, for the first time, all 401,000 Kansans with Medicare Part D will have the peace of mind of knowing their pharmacy costs are capped.

• Allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for high-cost drugs. Approximately 5 to 7 million Americans on Medicare will likely see reduced costs on their most expensive medications thanks to Medicare negotiation. Additionally, billions of taxpayer dollars will be saved and put towards reducing the national debt.

• Addressing skyrocketing prescription drug prices. Starting next year, companies will be required to pay Medicare a rebate if they increase prices faster than inflation.

While these savings were included in the Davids-supported Inflation Reduction Act, comprehensive legislation to lower health care and energy costs and reduce the national debt by more than $300 billion, Rep. Davids has been working to lower health care costs since before her election. She led her colleagues on similar actions to lower the price of prescription drugs and co-sponsored legislation to do so. She also released a report on the high price of insulin in the Kansas Third and held a roundtable with local parents to discuss how the rising cost of insulin impacts their family after voting to cap insulin co-pays at $35 a month for all Americans.

  • Story from Rep. Davids’ office

New funding for cancer research announced

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist., announced that the National Cancer Institute has awarded $2,822,506 to the University of Kansas Cancer Center to support research.

Last month the center was officially designated as a “comprehensive” cancer center by the National Cancer Institute, the highest level of recognition awarded by the NCI.

“The University of Kansas Cancer Center has long been a leader in our region for health and cancer research,” Rep. Davids said. “The new NCI distinction will enable their world-class scientists to continue making inroads in cancer research, saving lives in the 3rd District and around the world. I want to congratulate them on this new designation and thank them for their tireless efforts.”

“Thanks to the Cancer Center Support Grant, The University of Kansas Cancer Center may continue to grow its research programs and shared resources, which will lead to a better understanding of how to prevent and treat cancer more effectively,” said Dr. Roy Jensen, vice chancellor and director of the University of Kansas Cancer Center. “The additional funding also helps the cancer center grow and retain our team of researchers and physician-scientists, convening the brightest minds in science and medicine.”

Earlier this year, Rep. Davids visited the KU Cancer Center to celebrate the passage of her funding request for a new imaging machine to advance cutting-edge cancer research and treatment in Kansas. This project was one of eight federally funded projects in the Kansas 3rd District successfully secured by Rep. Davids.

  • Story from Rep. Davids’ office

Preliminary federal funding announced for several projects in 3rd District

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist., recently announced preliminary federal funding for several projects in the 3rd District.

The projects totaled $32 million of federal funding that were approved by the House Appropriation subcommittees and will be included in a larger appropriations package to be voted on in the House.

The projects were in Wyandotte County as well as Johnson County.

“My job is to listen to Kansans and advocate for their priorities in Washington,” Rep. Davids said in a news release. “The projects I submitted alongside our state and local officials passed detailed reviews and met significant standards for return on investment, and they will make crucial, immediate investments in our local law enforcement, infrastructure, and health care. I look forward to voting to send these funds home.”

The projects included a wastewater treatment plant project in Kansas City, Kansas, aimed at reducing rates paid by the public; and the purchase of an emergency electric back-up generator at the Nearman Water Treatment Plant in Kansas City, Kansas.

Three projects benefiting the University of Kansas Medical Center were added including the purchase of a state-of-the-art CT and MRI scanners. The Wyandotte County Health Department also would receive funding to increase staff bandwidth and available services.

The projects included:

• $2.6 million to the University of Kansas Medical Center for the purchase of a new MRI scanner allowing community members to participate in the latest research studies for years to come.

• $3 million to the University of Kansas Medical Center for the purchase of a CT scanner allowing researchers to obtain 3-D reconstructions of internal organs, a technology it currently lacks.

• $1 million to the University of Kansas Medical Center for equipment enhancements to expand and upgrade the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (KU ADRC), located in Fairway, Kansas.

• $3.7 million to the Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Public Utilities for the purchase of an emergency electric back-up generator at the Nearman Water Treatment Plant, the primary water treatment facility in the event of electrical service disruptions.

• $2 million to the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, for a Kaw Point Wastewater Treatment Plant project aimed at reducing both long-term operation costs and rates paid by the public.

• $750,000 to the Wyandotte County Public Health Department for increased access to mental and behavioral health services and staff funding.

• $1 million to the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, to address the aging infrastructure of parks in KCK.

• $4 million to the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) help further incorporate battery electric buses into the already established RideKC network, which covers the urban and suburban regions of the bi-state Kansas City area. This is a joint request with Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri).

• $300,000 to the Olathe Police Department for needed technology upgrades to their Mobile Command Post.

• $660,000 to the Olathe Fire Department Administration for the expansion of the Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) program to include a second team to provide additional care and resources.

• $5.4 million to the city of Overland Park for infrastructure upgrades to the College Boulevard Bridge in Overland Park, Kansas.

• $126,750 to the city of Shawnee for upgrades to the Fire Station Headquarters and Fire Station 73 to solar energy systems.

• $3 million to the city of Gardner for a wastewater infrastructure grant to support continued commercial expansion at New Century Business Park and Logistics Park Kansas City Intermodal, including more affordable housing in Johnson County for workforce.

• $4 million to the city of Overland Park, Kansas for the reconstruction of 167th Street from Switzer Road to Antioch Road including a new roundabout and new sidewalks on either side of the road.

• $750,000 to the city of Olathe to design (including permitting and mitigation) a new dam and spillway approximately 900 feet downstream of the current Cedar Lake Dam.