Congress can either vote with the people or with the pharmaceutical corporations
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Every single House Democrat should support H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. Any politician, Republican or Democrat, who opposes this bill or tries to water it down is showing us who they really work for: Their pharmaceutical industry donors.

New polling from our organizations, Social Security Works and Data for Progress, shows that progressive pharmaceutical policies – including the policies in H.R. 3 and those that go even further – are overwhelmingly popular with Democrats and Independents, and even supported by large numbers of Republican voters. This remains true even after voters are presented with pharmaceutical industry talking points opposing the policies.

H.R. 3 would allow the government to negotiate lower prices on up to 250 common and lifesaving medications. We polled this policy. Our question mentioned this was a policy supported by Democrats, and also included common pharmaceutical industry counterarguments such as the (false) talking point that it will hurt innovation.

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Even after hearing the counterarguments and partisan framing, 40 percent of Republicans supported government negotiation of drug prices. So did 82 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents.

We also polled on allowing the government to revoke patents from pharmaceutical companies if those companies charge prices too high for most patients to afford. This policy goes beyond H.R. 3, which instead uses a fine as the enforcement mechanism to get companies to negotiate lower prices.

As with the question on negotiation, we included both a partisan cue and pharmaceutical industry counterarguments. Despite this, allowing the government to revoke pharmaceutical patents was supported by nearly one-third of Republicans, as well as 78 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of independents. Only 28 percent of independents said they opposed the policy.

Separately, Data for Progress also conducted polling in Virginia ahead of last week’s elections. The polling focused on state Senate battleground districts. We found widespread support for bold reforms to lower drug prices.

Seventy-nine percent of Virginia swing district voters support revoking the patent on insulin to allow a generic version to be produced. Seventy-three percent support allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices.

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The pharmaceutical industry is the least popular industry in America, for good reason. Even people with insurance are going to the pharmacy and finding that they owe three- and four-figure co-pays for their medication. For the uninsured, the situation is even more dire. Three in ten adults say they have skipped medication because they could not afford the price.

We need to pass H.R. 3 now, and finally start bringing American families relief from outrageously high drug prices. Any Democrat who opposes the bill is slapping patients and their families in their faces. They are also hurting their own party’s political prospects by allowing Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Seven years after Sandy Hook, the politics of guns has changed MORE (who loves to talk tough on pharma, even though his policies tell a very different story) to muddy the waters.

Democrats need to show voters which party is really on their side against big pharma, by passing H.R. 3 out of the House of Representatives in a unified vote.

Then, they must listen to the people by going further. H.R. 3 is an important first step, but our polling shows strong support across party lines for even bolder action. If Democrats directly confront big pharma’s monopolies, voters will reward them at the polls.

Alex Lawson is executive director of Social Security Works and Sean McElwee is co-founder of Data for Progress.