Tester Fights for Lower Drug Costs and Better Access to Critical Care in Montana

Senator’s Bills Will Increase Transparency and Support Rural Health Centers

(U.S. Senate) – Continuing his work to make health care more affordable for Montanans, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is spearheading legislation to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable, shed more light on drug pricing, and ensure rural hospitals get paid for the care they provide.

“Montanans should not be forced to break the bank to afford the medications they need,” Tester said. “Shining more light on the pharmaceutical industry’s backroom dealings will hold them accountable for massive price hikes that have hurt folks across our state.”

Tester’s SPIKE Act forces pharmaceutical companies to publicly disclose their reasoning for any significant hikes in prescription drug prices. And his C-THRU Act would require pharmaceutical middlemen to publicly disclose their pricing agreements with drug companies, insurance companies, and pharmacies so that Montanans know exactly where their money is going when they check out at the pharmacy counter.

Tester is also sponsoring the Critical Access Hospital Relief Act to ensure Montana’s rural hospitals get compensated for the care they provide.

“Folks across Montana rely on Critical Access Hospitals for everything from basic check-ups to emergency treatments,” Tester said. “If these hospitals can’t afford to keep the lights on because they aren’t being paid for their services, then thousands of families will have nowhere to turn for care.”

Under current law, Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) are required to certify that they expect to discharge or transfer a patient within 96 hours of admission in order to receive payment from Medicare. Tester’s bill would eliminate this requirement, forcing Medicare to compensate CAHs even if a patient is admitted to the hospital for more than four days.

A longtime advocate for rural health, Tester has pushed to hold drug companies accountable and increase transparency within the pharmaceutical industry. Earlier this year, he reintroduced the CREATES Act to drive drug prices down and increase competition in the marketplace. And last year, he fought to reauthorize and increase funding for community health centers across the state.

More information on Tester’s work to lower prescription drug costs can be found HERE.