A showdown vote will be held next week on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bill empowering Medicare to negotiate prices for expensive prescription drugs. According to leading Democratic committee chairmen, the Congressional Budget Office has “indicated that Pelosi’s bill would save the government $500 billion over 10 years, which they pledged to use for new Medicare benefits and other health care priorities such as the National Institutes of Health and the opioid crisis.”
Reps. Frank Pallone, Richard Neal, and Bobby Scott said the investments are a result of their promise to empower the federal government to make negotiations on the drug prices for Americans.
Business Insider reported that “her bill is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled House, but it has no chance in the Republican-run Senate.” This is because most Republicans are not in favor of authorizing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
The White House is strongly not in favor of Pelosi’s bill and argues that it will keep up to 1/3 of new drugs from coming to the market. Associated Press explained that the legislation from Pelosi “would authorize Medicare to negotiate prices for the costliest drugs, including insulin” – and they will be using the prices paid in other nations as reference. This could result in price cuts of 40% to 55% according to the budget office, and the bill would allow private insurance plans to get Medicare’s price.
According to a White House report, Pelosi’s bill “will harm American patients in ways that far outweigh any benefits.” This is because pharmaceutical companies will have a hard time developing breakthrough drugs and bringing them to market.