The following is a statement from National Nurses United President Deborah Burger, RN, in response to the mark-ups in the House Energy and Commerce Committee and House Ways and Means Committee this week:

“Nurses across the country are deeply disappointed that three Democratic members of Congress blocked Medicare drug price negotiation in the Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday. This legislation would lower drug prices not only for Medicare recipients, but for patients of all ages. We are dismayed that these representatives chose pharmaceutical industry profits over the lives of our patients. However, nurses remain committed to ensuring that both the House and the Senate pass Medicare drug price negotiation in the full Build Back Better package and commend the Ways and Means Committee for advancing this same legislation.

“NNU also commends the House for including the expansion of dental, vision, and hearing benefits in Medicare, but strongly urges both the House and the Senate to improve these benefits by eliminating cost sharing and shortening the implementation timeline. It is critical that all Medicare recipients are able to use these benefits without financial barriers to care as soon as possible.

“In the middle of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Congress and the Biden administration should be making health care more available to as many people as possible. Nurses continue to advocate for the strongest possible expansion of Medicare, including lowering the eligibility age to 60 and instituting an out-of-pocket cap, in the pending budget reconciliation bill.”

National Nurses United is the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States with more than 175,000 members nationwide.

This content was originally published here.