WASHINGTON (The Hill) – Democratic lawmakers have reached agreement on legislation to lower the prices of prescription drugs to be included in President Biden’s social spending program, Senate Majority Leader Charles said on Tuesday. Schumer (DN.Y.).
The deal is less ambitious than previous Democratic proposals, but it still represents progress on an issue the party has campaigned on for years.
The deal would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices in limited cases, prevent drug companies from raising prices faster than inflation, and cap out-of-pocket expenses for seniors on Medicare at 2,000. $ per year.
Democrats scaled back their previous sweeping measure over concerns from a handful of moderates that it would have hampered innovation by pharmaceutical companies to develop new treatments. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) along with Reps Scott Peters (D-Calif.) And Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) Were among those moderates and helped lead negotiations with leaders on the compromise measure. .
âThat’s not all we all wanted. Many of us would have liked to go much further, but this is a big step in helping the American people deal with the cost of drugs, âSchumer told reporters on Tuesday.
Sinema said in a statement that she supported the deal.
The Senator welcomes a new agreement on a historic and transformative Medicare drug negotiation plan that will reduce out-of-pocket expenses for seniors – ensuring drug prices cannot rise faster than inflation – save money. ‘tax dollars and protecting innovation to ensure Arizonas and Americans continue to have access to life-saving drugs, as well as new treatments and therapies, âSinema’s office said.
One of the main compromises leading to a deal was to limit the scope of Medicare’s ability to negotiate lower drug prices, which has long been a Democratic signing proposal. Lawmakers have agreed to limit Medicare’s ability to negotiate on older drugs that no longer have âexclusivity,â that is, the period during which they are protected from competition. Earlier versions of Democratic bills would also have allowed for the negotiation of new drugs.
A draft measure that has circulated to lobbyists in recent days would allow negotiation of 10 drugs from 2025 and 30 drugs from 2028.
The final deal would also extend limits on drug prices that are rising faster than inflation to people with private health insurance plans, which has been the subject of debate at times in the process.
President Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Who had championed Democrats’ higher drug price bill for years, praised the provision and the agreement as a whole. Pelosi spoke to Sinema over the weekend to help finalize the deal, according to Sinema’s office.
“For a generation, House Democrats have fought for real price negotiations on drugs that will reduce costs,” Pelosi said. “With today’s agreement on strong lowering drug prices provisions for the Build Back Better Act, Democrats have a way forward to implement this transformative agenda for our seniors.”
She said the legislative text is still being drafted.
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