About five years ago, my mom went from being healthy, vibrant, and active one day, to being incredibly sick the next day. It turned out she had a rare, insidious autoimmune disease.

Ever since, we’ve been in and out of more hospitals than I care to count.

I’ve spent hours on end with her as she’s navigated complex treatment options. In order to stay alive and maintain an adequate quality of life, my mom has to spend thousands of dollars a year on prescription drugs.

This experience was one of the reasons why I decided to run for Congress in Massachusetts’s 4th Congressional District. Because sadly, this story is all too familiar for so many people across the Commonwealth and the country. Those who rely on life-saving medication must navigate a healthcare system that is confusing, frustrating, and prohibitively expensive.

Americans pay far more for pharmaceuticals compared to the rest of the world, and studies estimate that in the United States, these costs add up to roughly four times more than other developed countries. And year after year, drug prices continue to skyrocket.

As a result, many families are forced to make impossible choices between the roof over their head, or the food on their table, or the medication they need to stay healthy.

It’s way past time for our elected leaders to take action to alleviate the crushing burden of these costs.

First, we should expand the safe importation of drugs from trusted trading partners like Canada that have high-quality healthcare systems and far lower pharmaceutical costs. Carefully and responsibly expanding the marketplace for Americans will provide patients with greater choice while also forcing U.S. drug companies to cut down prices due to increased competition.

Second, Washington should pass legislation that authorizes the federal government to negotiate and drive down drug prices for the over 40 million recipients of Medicare — as well as for those with private insurance.

Additionally, out-of-pocket costs amount to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars for many patients. Congress should move to cap these costs and ensure that no one faces financial ruin because of the medication they rely on to stay alive.

The reforms I’ve outlined have overwhelming public support from voters on both sides of the aisle, yet our elected leaders are unwilling or unable to come to a bipartisan agreement.

What we need to finally reign in the exorbitant cost of prescription drugs is Representatives who aren’t afraid to take on the big drug companies and corporate special interests that run the show in Washington. That’s why I don’t take a dime of corporate PAC money — I’ll never put the special interests ahead of my family or yours. And I’ll never stop fighting to make prescription drugs affordable and accessible to everyone who needs them.

If you want to join me in this fight, I would be honored to earn your vote on Sept. 1.

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