Sen. Kaine fighting to preserve health care tax benefits, lower prescription costs

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Senator Tim Kaine says he’s fighting to preserve health care tax benefits and lower prescription drug prices.

Kaine says the tax reform bill being worked out right now could end up eliminating the tax deduction for out-of-pocket medical expenses.

He says that would hurt thousands of Virginians, especially retirees.

And when it comes to drug prices, Kaine recognizes that most manufacturers have helped people live fuller lives, but not all of them.

“There are bad actors in this field who find drugs that people depend on, where there are not many competitors, and then buy those drugs or companies and dramatically jack up prices, treating patients as hostages in a way that’s truly abusive,” said Kaine.

The most notorious recent case involved the man known as “pharma bro”, Martin Shkreli. He increased the price of one of his drugs by a factor of 40. It saves the lives of newborns and people with compromised immune systems from a rare condition.

Shkreli was convicted of federal securities fraud and is in jail awaiting sentencing.