Citizens throughout Oregon’s 5th Congressional District sat in on a virtual town hall Tuesday, Oct. 12, to hear from U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader. Schrader addressed questions on prescription drug pricing, the Violence Against Women Act and the Jan. 6 attack on the state Capitol.
Schrader said he has been in favor of drug pricing negotiations and for the last two years, he has been trying for some alternatives for drug pricing and he said the U.S. House of Representatives has come up with a bill that he believes hits the mark. The proposed Reduced Costs and Continued Cures Act would lower patients’ prescription drug costs. The plan is the first to cap out-of-pocket costs for seniors.
“Seniors can have huge, uncontrolled out-of-pocket costs when they get past their insurance coverage,” Schrader said. “Under our bill, the maximum out-of-pocket cost for a low-income senior would be $100 a month.”
Insurance and pharmaceutical companies would also have to pick up the bill, Schrader added. He said there is a great chance right now to reduce drug prices for everyone, especially seniors.
Regarding social security and Medicare for retirement, Schrader said social security just requires some political whip. There is a way to target those benefits to make sure everyone gets their fair share but to also make sure those who are low-income get what they need.
“That’s a topic we need to be discussing right now,” Schrader said.
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021, passed in the House and sent to the Senate, modifies and reauthorizes programs and activities that seek to prevent and respond to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. Schrader said women’s reproductive rights are also under siege right now.
“In this country, we need to stand strong for women’s reproductive rights,” Schrader said.
Child care was another issue brought up. Schrader said adequate child care is essential to getting people back to work.
“We need to figure out how to leverage our investment in child care,” Schrader said. “I think that is going to be huge.”
Not every region has the same cost structure for child care, Schrader added. There is general commitment by everyone in Congress that child care is a good investment.
Schrader spoke about the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. capitol, stating there is “no excuse for evading a capitol and attacking your own capitol is terrible.” As professionals, those working in the capitol have tried to put it behind them while also not sweeping it under the rug.
Schrader said the capitol’s police are also being improved and there are new people in place.
“We’re trying to make sure this never happens again in our country,” Schrader said.