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Immigration Reform now!

After July 4th, our eyes once again turn to House Republicans. According to the New York Times, “[Speaker Boehner] can let House Republicans and Democrats come together to pass a good bill. This would infuriate the hotheads in his caucus... Or he can stand back and let his party kill reform.” 

Read the full editorial

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What Our Neighbors Are Saying:

Lloyd Doggett continues to represent what is good for Texas and the country. I’m proud that he did not vote for the bailout. He is a champion of the honest, working, everyday folks.

Nio Pun

I want to thank Congressman Doggett for his strong support of health insurance reform. Because of the reforms enacted this year, our 2 year old daughter with a serious genetic condition can no longer be denied the right to quality healthcare coverage.

Edward Scruggs

Congressman Doggett had the courage to support health care reform because he really understands how easy it is to lose your coverage and how unworkable the system has been in recent decades. He’s always stood up for the interests of individuals, families and small businesses. I’m very proud of his statesmanlike approach to government service and his political intelligence in getting things done.

Carolyn Prescott

“I am a life long Austin Democrat and am so very proud to have Congressman Lloyd Doggett as my representative in Congress. I moved from the 10th District when it was created as I did not want that Congressman to say he was speaking for me. I totally support Lloyd Doggett for US Congress.”

Sandra Bernal, Austin,
August 1, 2010

“I can plainly see that there are not enough resources for the teachers or the students here in Austin. We need Perry to stop putting his politics in front of our children’s education and properly fund our schools so our children can get the education they deserve. I want to thank U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, for standing up for the teachers and children of our great state.”

Robert Stephenson, Austin American-Statesman, Letter to the Editor, July 11, 2010

“I was so encouraged when Congress and the President recently enacted a financial reform act. In fact, I was very pleased to read about Congressman Lloyd Doggett’s strong support for these efforts in his recent piece in the Daily Record.”

Jon Leonard, San Marcos Daily Record, Letter to the Editor, July 20, 2010

“In addition to listening to the public, he goes to bat for requests from the cities, procuring government funds to assist in the Smithville Post Office upgrade and assisting in the move of the Bastrop Historical Society to a larger museum.  I don’t accept ‘do nothing’ as a solution and I am glad Congressman Doggett doesn’t either.”

Anne Beck, Bastrop Advertiser
Letter to the Editor, October 24, 2009

“The constituents of the 25th District will always take top priority with Lloyd Doggett and he continues the hard work and dedication that have been the hallmarks of his years as a Congressman.  The voters of Colorado County will not be disappointed.”

Mark Warner, Colorado County Citizen
Letter to the Editor, January 6, 2010

“I strongly support the efforts of Congressman Lloyd Doggett to respond to the problems women encounter.”

Carrie F. Knox, Bastrop Advertiser
Letter to the Editor, November 6, 2009

“For [Lloyd Doggett’s] unwavering concern for humanity, we thank him immensely.”

Chelsea Brass, Austin American-Statesman
Letter to the Editor, July 6, 2009

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The Source: Drug prices spike and action is called for

Posted January 5, 2016

The Source: Drug prices spike and action is called for

Texas Public Radio By PAUL FLAHIVE  DEC 15, 2015

The big story, the one that made news directors perk up their ears, made congressmen call hearings, and made jaws drop across the country was the story about a 62 year-old drug – a senior citizen of a drug – called Daraprim that overnight went from $13.50 a tablet to $750 a tablet. A 5000% increase for no other reason than a company called Turing Pharmaceuticals bought the drug and raised the price because it could. The drug is used to treat malaria, HIV, and other infections.

Overnight the story of the cost surges in drugs was no longer about new drugs, but about all drugs, even old ones. A long known problem with drug pricing practices had coalesced around a single action.

The murky world of drug pricing lacks transparency and according to Congressman Lloyd Doggett it lacks many elements of what make up a free market.

“The problem is we don’t have a free market, we have a monopoly market,” says Doggett. “What we need is more competition and more information for consumers.”

The congressman has launched a task force to investigate the high prices, something that the U.S. Senate has also done. These kinds of investigations can often shed some light how decisions are made and how an industry is run.

Congressional investigations and hearings are nothing new to the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, 50 years ago a Kentucky Democrat named Estes Kefauver held several hearings that had incredible impact says Medical historian Jeremy Greene.

“It was really an amazing and eye-opening investigation. He used the power of the subpoena to bring executives of pharmaceutical companies as well as the head of the AMA and FDA and the U.S. patent and trademark office into the congressional hearings,” says Greene. “Previously obscure pricing and marketing practices of the industry became visible to the American people to then act upon.”

What can we do today to reign in drug costs?

 

San Marcos Daily Record: Lobbying for flood recovery

Posted January 5, 2016

San Marcos Daily Record

December 11, 2015
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San Antonio Express News: S.A. congressman investigating prescription costs

Posted January 5, 2016

San Antonio Express News: S.A. congressman investigating prescription costs

Texan seeking remedies for prescription inflation

By Bill Lambrecht, Washington Bureau

December 6, 2015

 WASHINGTON — Citing Texans’ complaints of soaring prescription costs, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett is leading an effort in Congress seeking causes and remedies.
 
Doggett, D-Austin, has formed an entity called the Prescription Drug Pricing Task Force, and one of the initial efforts is pressuring the Obama administration to use its authorities to stem an ongoing rise in the costs of pharmaceuticals.
 
Recent cases of dramatic price increases — like the $84,000 hepatitis C treatment — are drawing attention. But Doggett and allies point to price boosts for many drugs, evidenced in a government study last week showing a 12.2 percent increase last year in prescription drug spending. That was a five-fold increase over the 2013 rate.
 
“Exorbitant drug prices are not just about one company or one outlier, not just about generics or one brand. They’re about a pervasive, systemic problem that is a pocketbook issue for American families, especially for seniors on a fixed income,” Doggett said.
 
Critics point to several causes, among them a shortage of innovation and the wave of mergers and acquisitions that have reduced competition.
 
The effects are being felt not just by consumers but in Medicare and Medicaid programs paying for many prescriptions.
 
Leigh Purvis, director of Health Services Research at AARP’s Public Policy Institute, has been studying drug pricing since 2004.
 
“This is a long-term trend that shows no signs of slowing. It’s just reaching a point when people can’t afford their medicines,” she said in an interview.
 
She added: “There’s nothing in the U.S. health care system to stop it.”
 
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., referred to Doggett last week as “a champion on this issue.” She remarked on a shortcoming of the new health insurance law with regard to prescription medicine.
 
“When we passed the Affordable Care Act, the idea was that these drugs would be available to people in ACA. That doesn’t seem to be the case,” she said.
 
Pelosi was speaking at a hearing arranged by Doggett’s task force, an initial achievement since a handful of members started meeting quietly this fall. The new entity now includes about 10 members, all Democrats.
 
Their group is filling a vacuum in the Republican-run House, where leaders have declined to conduct hearings or use subpoena power to investigate the pricing trend.
 
The Senate is a different story. In a bipartisan investigation, the Senate Finance Committee released emails last week showing that executives of California-based Gilead Sciences were keenly aware of potential public outrage when they set the $84,000 cost for a 12-week treatment of Sovaldi, a potent new drug for hepatitis C.
 
Likewise, the Senate’s bipartisan Special Committee on Aging is investigating the decision by Turing Pharmaceuticals, formed recently by hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli, to raise the price of the anti-infection drug Daraprim by 5,000 percent — from $13.50 a pill to $750.
 
The committee, which is holding its first hearing this week, is looking into price spikes for several other prescriptions, among them a tuberculosis drug that shot up 2,000 percent to nearly $11,000 a bottle and a pill to prevent kidney stones that went from $1.50 to $30.
 
Big fixes, such as allowing re-importation of cheaper drugs from approved pharmacies in Canada, have proved elusive over the years. The White House has been criticized for not making imports a bargaining chip when engineering the Affordable Care Act in 2010.
 
With prospects for legislation remote in the near-paralyzed House, Doggett is turning his attention to pressuring the Obama administration.
 
He said that he and other Democrats intend to focus on the National Institutes of Health, a principal funder of research into new medicines.
 
“If a drug is developed out of NIH research, I think taxpayers have a stake in what kind of prices are being charged for it,” he said.
 
Doggett said he also will be looking at Affordable Care Act programs for potential relief while pressing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, part of Health and Human Services, for more transparency related to negotiated drug prices.
 
“We need to use every part of the federal government we can to address this crisis,” he said.
 
Dr. Jeremy Greene of Johns Hopkins University, a physician and drug historian, said efforts like Doggett’s can bring attention to the problem.
 
“But in order for Congress to make effective progress, it requires bipartisan action,” Greene said in an interview. “The complexities of the off-patent drug marketplace that distort this market cannot be understood without the ability to shine a bright light on pricing and distribution practices. And that really requires subpoena power.”
 
He added: “The frequency and the severity of shortages and prices of off-patent drugs have been increasing dramatically over the last few years. If nothing changes, why wouldn’t we see more and more companies deploying these tactics?”
 
Meanwhile, prescription costs are a growing burden, especially for people with serious illnesses.
 
Heather Block, who is dealing with stage 4 breast cancer, returned to the East Coast recently from Austin, where she underwent lengthy treatment.
 
For injections of Faslodex, used to combat metastatic breast cancer, she was billed between $5,000 and $6,000 a month. Elsewhere, she’s seen costs as high as $9,800 for the same dosage of the same drug.
 
“Hopefully I’ll live awhile,” she said in an interview. “I’m never going to beat it. But the longer I live, the more expensive it is. That’s the Catch-22, and it’s a scary Catch-22.”