LANSING — House Democrats held a press conference this morning to unveil their Health Over Profits for Everyone (H.O.P.E.) package, aimed at lowering out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications and doctor visits while increasing accountability for pharmaceutical companies engaged in price gouging.

“No one should be put in the horrific position of having to choose between paying their mortgage or getting their prescriptions,” said state Rep. Kyra Bolden (D-Southfield). “Yet that is the reality thousands across the state face every day — something that is only going to keep getting worse as the cost of living continues to climb. We know that isn’t right, and that’s why our package is focused on addressing the out-of-pocket costs that force those choices in the first place.”

Prescription drug costs have continued to rise dramatically in recent years, with price increases rapidly outpacing wage growth and inflation. Among the provisions of the H.O.P.E. plan is legislation to create a Prescription Drug Consumer Protection Board to hold manufacturers accountable. As of 2016, Michigan had the fifth-highest prescription drug costs in the nation.

“Bad actors, driven by corporate greed, have preyed on the people of our state for far too long,” said state Rep. Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia). “But if we don’t act now, prescription drug costs are only expected to keep rising. This package will put a stop to that price gouging and make a real difference in the lives of Michiganders who are just trying to get by without having to give up the medicine they need.”

Legislation in the package would also cap the cost of co-pays for primary care and behavioral health visits to $5, address rising insulin and epi-pen costs, and open Michigan to the importation of Canadian pharmaceuticals. The H.O.P.E. plan represents the first of several packages House Democrats plan to unveil during October to expand access to health care to Michigan residents.

“Skyrocketing health care prices don’t just exist in the abstract — these are real costs facing families in our communities every day,” said state Rep. Angela Witwer (Delta Township). “It’s time for us to focus on big, innovative solutions that finally put the needs of Michiganders ahead of corporate profits.”

“Our health care system is broken, and it’s going to take a lot to fix it,” said state Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo). “That’s why the HOPE package is so comprehensive. We’re committed to lowering costs for families, and that means tackling a lot of aspects of this system. House Democrats are going to make sure every single person in this state can afford the medicine and the medical care they need.”