AB 250 is clear path to improve rural health care
Rural Nevadans, like many Americans in rural communities, struggle with access to quality health care. We are challenged by a lack of hospitals, shortage of health care professionals, long drives to access basic health care services and a growing senior population.
Additionally, like so many Nevadans and Americans, rural Nevadans struggle with the high cost of prescription drugs. According to federal data, from 1991 to 2020, Nevadans went from paying $247 a year for medication to $1,236 a year. Today, drug prices are the fastest growing costs of
any medical good or service, and increasing at a faster rate than inflation.
In America, we pay 2.4 times more than citizens in nine other countries: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. For example, Humira, a drug commonly used for rheumatoid arthritis, is 423 percent more in the U.S than in the U.K and 186 percent more here than in Germany. For many Americans, this means self rationing medication. Indeed, in 2021 more than 16 percent of diabetics in the U.S. self-rationed their insulin due to cost. In Nevada, one in three of our neighbors are pill splitting or skipping doses to keep costs down.
The high and inaccessible cost of prescription drugs is an issue that cuts across party lines and deserves a bipartisan solution. That is why we are in support of Assembly Bill 250, the Affordable Medicine Act.
Under AB250 all Nevadans will pay the same price as those on Medicare for prescription drugs negotiated under the Inflation Reduction Act. These high-cost drugs will address diabetes, prevent strokes, kill cancer cells and relieve arthritis. Medicare will add drugs to the list for negotiation on a rolling basis, ensuring that access to affordable medication will improve year after year.
Nevadans will save a projected 25 percent to 60 percent on the medications selected. On top of reducing costs for Nevadans, this legislation will cost the taxpayers nothing, falling in line with Gov. Joe Lombardo’s commitment to raise no new taxes on Nevadans.
Rural Nevadans face plenty of existing barriers when it comes to quality and affordable health care. The cost of prescription drugs does not have to be another. With the Affordable Medicine Act, the Nevada legislature has the opportunity to clear a path to significantly reduce health care costs for all Nevadans.
Jasie Holm is the mayor of West Wendover. She was appointed by a unanimous vote from the city council in August to replace Mayor Daniel Corona.
Nathan Robertson is the mayor of Ely and a fifth generation Nevadan.