Opinion: Why we must pass the Affordable Medicine Act in 2025

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images / Shauna Hummell

By Maite Guerra, M.P.S

May 30, 2024

Given rising healthcare costs, Nevada stands at a critical juncture.

 

Last legislative session, the Assembly and Senate passed Assembly Bill 250, a piece of legislation from Assemblywoman Venicia Considine that presented a formidable opportunity to not only provide relief from the high costs of prescription drugs, but also to stimulate our state’s economy and lower overall healthcare expenditures.

 

However, Governor Lombardo — caving to the interests of big pharma — vetoed the legislation, leaving Nevada patients footing the ever-increasing bill for their prescriptions. But hope for the Affordable Medicine Act lives on, especially as we look to the 2025 Legislative Session. But before we get there, we must understand the broader implications of this bill and the transformative potential it holds for individuals, families, and businesses across the state.

 

Here’s what the Affordable Medicine Act plans to do: Right now, the government program called Medicare negotiates with drug companies to secure lower prices for seniors’ medications. The new bill wants to make sure that all Nevadans, no matter their age or job, can buy their medications at these lower prices too. This would be good news for everyone, especially for people who need regular medicine, but find it too expensive.

 

By making medications cheaper, the Affordable Medicine Act would also help reduce how much we all spend on health care. When people can afford their medicine, they are healthier and don’t need to go to the hospital as much, which saves money. This is also good for the state because it won’t have to spend as much on emergency care.

 

Businesses in Nevada will benefit, too. Right now, high costs for health benefits can make it hard for small businesses to grow. With lower medication costs, they can save money and possibly hire more people or expand their businesses. This means more jobs and a stronger economy for everyone in Nevada.

 

Opponents of the bill may argue about the potential impacts on pharmaceutical innovation or the complexities of implementing such a system, suggesting that meddling with market dynamics could have unintended consequences. However, the cost of inaction is far greater and more immediate. Without intervention, drug prices are likely to continue their upward trajectory, pushing the dream of affordable healthcare further out of reach for the average Nevadan.

 

The Affordable Medicine Act is more than just a bill—it’s a chance for us to make sure everyone in Nevada can afford their medications. It’s about taking a smart approach to solve a big problem using rules that already work well in Medicare. Now is the time for Nevada to lead the way in making health care affordable. By supporting the new bill, we can improve healthcare affordability, reduce overall healthcare costs, and bolster our state economy. The time to act is now, ensuring that all Nevadans can access the essential medications they need to lead healthy lives.

 

By supporting the new bill, we can improve healthcare affordability, reduce overall healthcare costs, and bolster our state economy. The time to act is now, ensuring that all Nevadans can access the essential medications they need to lead healthy lives.

 

Related: Nevada health care providers stand with Biden, tout his efforts to lower costs

  • Maite Guerra, M.P.S

    Maite Guerra serves as the Research Manager at Battle Born Progress and the Institute for a Progressive Nevada, where she spearheads research initiatives aimed at countering disinformation targeting the Latino/Hispanic community in Nevada. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and Criminal Justice from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she also gained valuable experience as a staffing assistant for Congressman Steven Horford. Maite recently earned her Master's Degree in American Politics with a specialization in American Politics from New York University. During her time at NYU, she contributed her expertise to organizations such as Make the Road, The Progressive Turnout Project, and the Elizabeth Brickfield Campaign. Her commitment to social justice extends beyond her professional endeavors, as evidenced by her volunteer work as a legal intern for the Asian Community Development Council and with the ACLU of Nevada. With a profound passion for the political sphere, Maite endeavors to continue advocating for equitable policies and representation, aspiring to foster positive change in communities nationwide through her research, advocacy, and activism.

CATEGORIES: HEALTHCARE

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