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Guest Column, U.S. Senator Mike Crapo: Working to Lower Prescription Drug Costs


Working to Lower Prescription Drug Costs

by: U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

(U.S. Senator Mike Crapo, official photo)

On December 19, 2019, Senate colleagues and I introduced S. 3129, the Lower Costs, More Cures Act, to lower prescription drug prices and encourage the development of new therapies and cures. This bill contains provisions that already have broad, bipartisan support in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Focusing on achievable areas of agreement can make progress in truly making prescription drugs more affordable.

America is the leader in biopharmaceutical innovation, bringing life-saving therapies to patients and discovering cures. However, these drugs are only effective if patients can afford them. Alarmingly, a recent study suggested that in 2017, 37 percent of Idaho residents stopped taking medication as prescribed due to cost. President Trump made a commitment to prioritize lowering drug costs, and this legislation will accomplish that.

Fellow Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) and John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) joined me in introducing S. 3129 to lower prescription drug prices, bring greater transparency to the prescription drug industry and encourage American ingenuity in the development of new treatments and cures. The Lower Costs, More Cures Act builds on the market-based principles of Medicare Part D to leverage competition, flexibility and transparency to bring affordable drugs to patients.

Through this legislation, for the first time, Part D patients would have a maximum out-of-pocket cap to protect them from high costs. Providers would have access to information to recommend lower-cost alternatives, and Medicare Part B would appropriately pay providers for prescribing the best drug for their patient. The legislation includes numerous reforms intended to do the following:

  • Modernize payments for drugs delivered in the doctor’s office under Medicare Part B;
  • Incentivize lower-cost alternatives, or biosimilars;
  • Establish an annual out-of-pocket cap of $3,100 for Medicare Part D enrollees and allow certain patients to pay in monthly installments;
  • Place an out-of-pocket cap of $50 on insulin and insulin medical supplies;
  • Decrease beneficiary cost sharing from 25 percent to 15 percent of costs before the out-of-pocket cap is reached;
  • Allow prescription drug plan sponsors to offer, at minimum, up to four Part D plans per region, spurring competition and innovation;
  • Prevent the upcoming spike in costs for Medicare Part D beneficiaries that reach their annual maximum payment amount;
  • Provide greater flexibility for individuals to use Health Savings Accounts to purchase over-the-counter drugs;
  • Make permanent the 7.5 percent adjusted gross income for the purposes of the medical expense deduction in the tax filing season;
  • Create a trade negotiator solely dedicated to putting American patients first in government trade negotiations related to medicines in order to prevent foreign free-loading off America’s investment; and
  • Require drug manufacturers to provide pricing information on all direct-to-consumer advertising.

A two-page summary of the legislation is accessible on my official website, at:

Introduction of this legislation is part of my commitment to ensure greater access to affordable medications for patients, while adhering to market-driven principles. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I also voted in favor of four bills to prevent patent gaming by pharmaceutical companies, which would enable more affordable generic drugs to come to market sooner.

Representative Greg Walden (R-Oregon) introduced legislation similar to S. 3129 in the House of Representatives. Representatives Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho) co-sponsored the House bill that received bipartisan support when considered by the House. The Administration has called it “a far better approach to lowering drug prices and discovering life-saving cures” than the House-passed legislation. Congress should act now to pass the Lower Costs, More Cures Act into law.

41st Eastern Idaho Ag Expo at Holt Arena, January 21-23


The 41st Eastern Idaho Ag Expo will be held on the Idaho State University campus at Holt Arena this year from Tuesday, January 21 through Thursday, January 23.

For more information, and to view the show program, visit:


Pocatello: Idaho Potato Conference at Idaho State University, January 22-23, 2020


The 52nd Annual Idaho Potato Conference and Trade Show will be held at Idaho State University, Pond Student Union Building, on January 22 and 23, 2020.  The conference will run on Wednesday, Jan. 22 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday, Jan. 23 from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

According to the University of Idaho website promoting the event, “Highlights for this year’s conference include:

Several seminars and workshops on the impact of the 2019 season, pressure bruise, soil health, crop nutrient management, variety management and performance of new varieties, irrigation system efficiency, virus, minor insect pests, late blight and other diseases, how potatoes are graded, optimizing fumigation, soil borne and seed borne diseases, pesticide drift and misapplication and much more will be discussed. Including a special panel discussion of industry issues by the Idaho Potato Commission, National Potato Council and Potatoes USA.


Seminars and workshops in Spanish will be held both days and include a wide variety of topics from farm safety to disease and disorder identification.

CCA (CEU) and pesticide recertification credits will be available. There will be 13.5 IPM, 8.5 Crop Management, 3 Soil and Water Management, 1 Nutrient Management and 1 Professional Development CEU credits available this year.”

New this year is a free baked potato bar at lunch on Wednesday, Jan. 22

For more information, visit:


Proclamation on Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday, 2020


(Presidential Proclamation Issued on January 17, 2020)

On August 28, 1963, nearly a quarter of a million people gathered in the August heat on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to hear the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., speak. People traveled to our Nation’s Capital from places as far away as Atlanta and Los Angeles to witness one of the defining moments in American history. On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. King articulated the founding dream of America, the vision of our Founders for all Americans to live as “an heir of the legacy of dignity and worth.” Today, we pause to honor the incredible life and accomplishments of Dr. King, who helped shape the Civil Rights Movement, gave hope to millions experiencing discrimination, and whose enduring memory inspires us to pursue a more just and equal society.

Dr. King dedicated his life’s work to fighting for the right of every American to achieve the American Dream. Born the son of a Baptist minister on Auburn Street in Atlanta, Dr. King became an American icon and hero to millions of freedom-loving peoples everywhere, propelled by his powerful and inspiring message of peaceful protest and nonviolent resistance. From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial before thousands to the quiet solitude of a jail cell in Birmingham, Dr. King evinced an unshakable commitment to create a better future, never relenting in his quest for justice.

Since its inception, our Nation has served as a beacon of hope and opportunity around the world. America’s promise of freedom and justice has guided our people through adversity to prosperity. Dr. King’s life and legacy stands as a testament to that promise, one rooted in the inalienable rights of mankind and a commitment to freedom from persecution. Throughout his battle against segregation and discrimination, Dr. King praised his fellow demonstrators for returning “back to the deep wells of democracy” that trace their roots to our founding. We honor Dr. King’s legacy and our Nation’s heritage when we act to protect and expand freedom and opportunity.

As President, I remain committed to safeguarding the promise of our Nation and the values we share, the values that Dr. King so ardently worked to achieve. My Administration works each day to ensure that all Americans have every opportunity to realize a better life for themselves and their families regardless of race, class, gender, or any other barriers that have arbitrarily stood in their way. We have seen historic economic growth, with more than 7 million new jobs since my election and record highs in African-American, Hispanic‑American, and Asian-American employment. Through a focused effort of deregulation and growth-oriented policies, we have unleashed the potential of the American economy and bolstered the strength of the greatest workforce in the world, the American workforce. We recognize that economic opportunity is the greatest engine for empowering individuals and families to overcome adversity, and we will continue to fight for opportunity for all Americans.

On this day, we are reminded of what Dr. King described as “our noble capacity for justice and love and brotherhood.” As we pay tribute to Dr. King, I urge all Americans to heed his call to action so that we may build the “Beloved Community” that he envisioned, living up to the sacred promise for a better future woven into the fabric of our American identity.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 20, 2020, as the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday. On this day, I encourage all Americans to recommit themselves to Dr. King’s dream by engaging in acts of service to others, to their community, and to our Nation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.


Answer of President Donald J. Trump to Articles of Impeachment


Jay Alan Sekulow, Counsel to President Donald J. Trump, Washington, D.C., and Pat A. Cipollone, Counsel to the President, The White House, have issued an Answer to the Articles of Impeachment from President Donald J. Trump.  The response, dated January 18, 2020, can be read, here:

Articles of Impeachment Against President Donald J. Trump


The Articles of Impeachment against President Donald J. Trump, dated December 10, 2019, can be read, here:


Evelyn Lopez Wins American Legion Oratorical Contest at Pocatello Post 4

Evelyn Lopez with American Legion Post 4 Commander Charles Wangelin (Photo Credit: Julie Lopez)

Evelyn Lopez knows the United States Constitution.  The high school sophomore, who is a homeschooled student with Freedom Scholars for America, was the winner at the local level of the American Legion Oratorical Speech Contest, Post 4 in Pocatello.

At the annual speech contest, held at Memorial Hall on Saturday, Lopez delivered a speech she wrote on the responsibilities of Americans with respect to the Constitution.  As required by the competition rules, Lopez spoke without notes.  Her approximately nine minute speech was followed by a second speech on the randomly selected topic of the 20th Amendment.

Lopez now advances to the District level contest, which will be held at the Blackfoot Post of the American Legion next Saturday.

Asked about the long hours she put in preparing for the competition, Lopez said, “One of the reasons I think it is important for me to do the speech competition is that it can be easy to forget, when life is going crazy, our duties to our government and why they are important.  One of the best ways to remember that is by teaching other people about it.”

According to the American Legion website, “The American Legion Oratorical Contest exists to develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students. Since 1938, the program has presented participants with an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership qualities, the history of our nation’s laws, the ability to think and speak clearly, and an understanding of the duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship. The program has featured numerous politicians and prominent contestants over the years, including former presidential candidate Alan Keyes, national television commentator and talk radio host Lou Dobbs, and Vice-President of the United States Mike Pence.”

For more information about the American Legion Oratorical Contest, visit:

City of Pocatello Accepting Bids for Sewer Line Work


The City of Pocatello has published a bid posting for the 2020 Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation (CIPP) Project.  The bid posting was published today, January 19, at 6:00 a.m.  Bids are due by Tuesday, February 4, 2020, at 2:00 p.m.

The description of the project to be bid reads:


Separate sealed BIDS for (Cured-In-Place-Pipe) GIPP rehabilitation and repair of existing sanitary sewer lines and other related work located in Pocatello, Idaho, as set forth in the Contract Documents for the 2020 Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Project will be received by the City of Pocatello Clerk’s Office at City Hall, 911 North 7th Avenue, Pocatello, ID 83201, until 2:00 p.m. local time on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 and then at said office publicly opened and read aloud.

The work includes the rehabilitation of 7190 feet of 8-inch, 1095 feet of 10-inch, and 946 feet of 12- inch diameter existing sanitary sewer pipes with GIPP (Cured-in-Place Pipe) installation, including cleaning, CCTV (closed circuit television) inspection, cutting off protruding laterals, lateral reinstatement, bypass pumping, traffic control, and other associated work. The project is located in Pocatello, Idaho, throughout the City limits, within the street right of ways, alleyways, and backyard easements.”

For more information on this and other projects, or to access bidder’s documents, visit the City website at:


Trump Administration Update on Promoting Educational Opportunity

Photo Credit: Aaron Kittredge

(White House Press Release, December 31, 2019)

PROMOTING EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY: President Trump is working to ensure all Americans have access to quality education.

President Donald J. Trump (White House Official Photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Trump signed into law a modernization of our country’s career and technical education system to ensure more Americans have access to high-quality vocational education.

This year, the Administration proposed Education Freedom Scholarships to expand education options for students of all economic backgrounds.

  • This plan will invest up to $5 billion in students through a tax credit for donations for state-based, locally-controlled scholarships.

President Trump is expanding education and training opportunities for incarcerated individuals to learn how to make a living before their release.

The President signed legislation reauthorizing the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program.

Thanks to President Trump’s historic tax reform, parents can now withdraw up to $10,000 tax-free per year from 529 education savings plans to cover K-12 tuition costs.

President Trump has made supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) a priority of his Administration.

  • President Trump signed the Farm Bill that included more than $100 million dollars for scholarships, research, and centers of excellence at HBCU land-grant institutions.
  • The Administration has enabled faith-based HBCUs to enjoy equal access to Federal support.
  • President Trump signed legislation providing $255 million dollars of permanent annual funding for HBCUs and other Minority Serving Institutions.


City of Chubbuck Video: Complete CommUNITY


What does it take to run a small city the size of Chubbuck?  More than you might imagine.  From roads to water, parks to police, and more, watch this video to learn about some of the many services that are provided in order to keep the City of Chubbuck running efficiently.  See why Chubbuck was recently named one of the ten best places to live in Idaho, and why people #ChooseChubbuck!