Building Back Better seems to end up running out of a few bedrooms, an extra bathroom and a men’s cellar, but there are parts of President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion plan that really need fixing. saved.
Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat representing Virginia’s 7th District, was in Culpeper last week with Biden to outline an element of the plan that’s been a long time coming: the part making prescription drugs more affordable.
Of course, politics is politics. Spanberger is seeking to make himself as visible as possible ahead of this year’s midterm elections. She’s in a redesigned 7th, one that doesn’t include her suburban Richmond home but now stretches as far north as Prince William Blue County. Whatever the motivation, however, this cause is just.
Speaking at Germanna Community College’s Daniel Technology Center, she said she would support stand-alone legislation or try one more time to knock down the seemingly impregnable door of legislative resistance to Biden’s grand plan.
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This problem has been bothering us for some time, as anyone who is not very healthy knows. Three years ago, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which would have allowed Medicare to negotiate drug prices, passed the House but died in the Senate.
Spanberger criticized the way Build Back Better was presented in Washington and the country at large. She is rightly concerned that the plan’s $2 trillion (or 2 million million, or about $6,000 per American) figure is a wet blanket, while parts of the plan — such as aid to prescription drugs – should be relatively easy to sell.
US prescription drug spending continues to outpace inflation. In 2020, the first pandemic year, brand name drugs grew by 2.9% while the general inflation rate was 1.3%, less than half. Since 1960, according to healthsystemtracker.org, per capita retail prescription drug spending has risen from $90 to $1,025, adjusted for inflation. One in four people taking prescription drugs said in a Kaiser Family Foundation study that they had trouble paying for their medications.
Relief from the high cost of prescription drugs shouldn’t be a red or blue question. About two-thirds of American adults take it, according to the Health Policy Institute.
We commend Spanberger for taking ownership of this issue and hope the House and Senate will agree that this is one wing of the Build Back Better dream house that will soon need to be ground smashed.