STATEMENT: President’s Speech Calls On Congress To Allow Medicare To Negotiate Lower Drug Prices And Lays Out Important Proposals
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The following statement was issued by David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, in response to President Biden’s speech on how his Build Back Better agenda will lower prescription drug prices:
“President Biden’s speech today adds powerful momentum for reforms to lower prescription drug prices and for direct Medicare negotiation specifically. He couldn’t have said it more clearly: ‘These prices put the squeeze on too many families and strip them of their dignity … Medicare is going to negotiate a fair price!’ His conversation with patient advocate Gail deVore demonstrated once again that this president understands and will use the power of his office to achieve reforms we need and 90 percent of Americans support.
“The president also offered important details on his approach that we support, including focusing on a subset of expensive drugs, creating a framework for what constitutes a fair price to guide negotiators, powerful incentives to ensure companies agree to a reasonable price, penalties for raising prices faster than inflation, making lower negotiated prices available in the private sector, and capping out-of-pocket costs for patients. These comprise a strong, comprehensive set of policies to help all Americans.
“Today, I am more optimistic than ever that we are going to get this done.”
This speech comes on the heels of the Senate’s vote to move forward with drafting a legislative package to deliver on the president’s Build Back Better plan, which includes lowering drug prices through Medicare negotiation.President Biden‘s Build Back Better plan builds on his campaign promise to lower prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate.
Since then, the president has doubled down on his commitment, and he strongly reaffirmed his support for lower drug prices through Medicare negotiation.
The Senate Finance Committee is reportedly drafting a bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate that is likely to be included in the Senate’s final reconciliation package. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Wyden recently released his guiding principles for drug pricing reform, which are expected to be included in the bill. Chairman Wyden said, “We are moving aggressively to put together a prescription drug package that protects those millions of Americans who believe they’re getting mugged at the pharmacy.”
The Wall Street Journal reported, “Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders has said he hopes to include provisions allowing the federal government to negotiate prices for certain costly drugs in Medicare.”
House leadership has been clear they plan to include Medicare negotiation in the reconciliation package.In a press call, Speaker Pelosisaid she wants to include Medicare negotiation in the budget bill. “We have an extraordinary opportunity to do this as we craft this reconciliation bill,” she told reporters.
In May, 156 House Democrats — 70 percent of the House Democratic caucus — signed a letter urging the Biden administration to include Medicare negotiation to lower drug prices in the American Families Plan.
In June, 15 vulnerable House Democratssent a letter asking congressional leadership to include Medicare negotiation in the budget bill.
In the House of Representatives, H.R. 3, which would allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices on behalf of all Americans, was reintroduced in April. If passed, H.R. 3 would save nearly half a trillion dollars for taxpayers by restoring balance to our drug pricing system and curbing pharma’s unilateral pricing power.