WEST VIRGINIA — As Congress works on a budget plan that includes giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, a new project shows the overwhelming, bipartisan support for this reform across West Virginia.
The findings are part of a new website and interactive map showing support for district-by-district and state-by-state data. West Virginia lawmakers and constituents can now find the level of backing for Medicare negotiation, opinions about pharmaceutical companies, concerns about Congress failing to act, and belief in pharma’s top arguments. The project was conducted by Data for Progress on behalf of Protect Our Care and Patients For Affordable Drugs Now.
The model shows that:
- More than 9 out of 10 (91%) of West Virginia voters back reforms that give Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices;
- More than 8 out of 10 (85%) believe prescription drug costs are “unreasonable”;
- 85% reject pharma’s argument that lowering drug prices will harm innovation and believe that we can let Medicare negotiate lower prices without harming innovation and development.
The West Virginia data were determined using a large national sample of more than 4,000 likely voters and a sophisticated computer modeling program. Using the large sample combined with voter profiles, support levels have been modeled for all 50 states and 435 congressional districts, including West Virginia, and can be viewed here. The Data for Progress team used advanced modeling techniques known as MRP (multilevel regression with poststratification) to estimate support at the congressional district and state level. More on methodology can be found on the website.
“This issue has been litigated in the court of public opinion for years now, and even in the midst of a pandemic, voters are clear: They want Medicare to negotiate lower prices on behalf of Americans,” said David Mitchell, a patient with an incurable blood cancer whose drugs carry a list price of more than $900,000 per year and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Patients and consumers are hurting, too often having to choose between paying outrageous prices for their drugs or covering costs of other necessities. We support Congress and the Biden administration as they act to end this injustice in America.”
“Americans pay more for prescription drugs than anyone in the world. Big Pharma’s greed knows no bounds, and Americans from all walks of life are hurting from skyrocketing costs,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “The new polling from Data for Progress confirms that voters are fed up with the status quo and demanding action from their elected officials. It is imperative that Congress give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices for all Americans — any lawmaker that tries to stand in the way is on the wrong side of this issue and on the wrong side of their constituents.”
“These numbers make it abundantly clear that voters want prescription drug price reforms,” said Sean McElwee, Executive Director at Data for Progress. “With strong support for allowing Medicare to negotiate to lower drug prices and the belief among voters that prescription drug prices are unreasonable, it’s clear that Congress must act to make these changes.”
Nationwide, the survey found that by more than a 2-to-1 margin, voters are more concerned that Congress won’t do enough to rein in the cost of prescription drugs than that Congress will go too far in restraining prices.
This new poll comes as the Senate Finance Committee is drafting legislation that would allow Medicare to negotiate, which would deliver on the president’s Build Back Better plan. The House of Representatives will begin marking up the reconciliation package, including a version of its Medicare negotiation legislation, H.R. 3, this week.