Politics Senate Finance Chair releases principles for lowering prescription drug prices
Overnight Health Care: White House acknowledges it will fall short of July 4 vaccine goal | Fauci warns of 'localized surges' in areas with low vaccination rates | Senate Finance leader releases principles for lowering prescription drug prices
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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Tuesday for his proposal to lower prescription drug prices, saying current costs are "unacceptable."
Wyden has been working behind the scenes to craft a bill to lower drug prices that can get all 50 Senate Democrats on board so that a measure can pass the chamber, as Republican support is not expected.
While some of the contours were already known, the principles released on Tuesday provide the first written indication of what Senate Democrats want. Still, there are many details that are not included in the document, highlighting the work ahead to craft the specifics.
Fifty failed years later — it's time to end and dismantle the war on drugs
On this 50th anniversary of the Drug War, President Biden must make good on his campaign promises and dismantle this rotten system. He must take immediate actions to mitigate the harms the drug war has inflicted on people and communities - especially people and communities of color. He must also begin building a new comprehensive drug policy system that is based on public health principles rather than mass criminalization and incarceration.That's why we at ACLU and DPA came together to identify ten actions President Biden can take now to demonstrate that he's serious about ending the drug war.
The principles call for Medicare to be able to negotiate lower drug prices, a long-held goal for Democrats that is largely opposed by Republicans.
Importantly, Wyden also calls for the lower prices to apply to people in private insurance plans, not just in Medicare. He also calls for capping out of pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries at the pharmacy counter and limiting drug price increases in Medicare to the rate of inflation.
"The United States is the largest market for biopharmaceuticals, yet prices in our country for many prescription drugs are the highest in the world," Wyden wrote. "Americans often tell their elected officials they worry that being prescribed an expensive drug therapy will ruin them financially. This is unacceptable."
Democrats see springboard for health care in high court win
WASHINGTON (AP) — With the Affordable Care Act now secure in the framework of the nation's health care programs, Democrats are eager to leap above and beyond. They want to expand insurance coverage for working-age people and their families, add new benefits to Medicare for older people and reduce prescription drug costs for patients and taxpayers. But health care is expensive, there's concern about deficits and with Democrats holding only bare majorities in Congress, a winnowing down of expectations seems likely later this year. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - This image provided by U.S.
The drug pricing proposal could be included in a massive legislative package also including President Biden's priorities in the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. Lowering drug prices also produces savings that can be used on other health care priorities, such as increased Affordable Care Act financial assistance, expanding Medicaid in states that have not done so, or adding dental, vision and hearing benefits to Medicare.
Wyden faces the task of balancing the wishes of the progressive and moderate wings of Senate Democrats. The Senate bill is expected to be less far-reaching than the House bill, in a bid to win support from moderate Senate Democrats whose support is needed.
The details of how Medicare negotiates lower drug prices will be key. For example, some moderates object to an idea from the House bill to first cap drug prices based on the prices paid in other wealthy countries.
Wyden's principles are largely silent on those details, for now.
Impatient Democrats prepare to go-it-alone on infrastructure .
WASHINGTON (AP) — Patience running thin, Democratic leaders are laying the groundwork for a go-it-alone approach on President Joe Biden's big jobs and families infrastructure plans even as the White House continues negotiating with Republicans on a much more scaled-back $1 trillion proposal. A top White House adviser assured House Democrats during a closed-door session Tuesday that there would be a fresh assessment by next week on where talks stand with the Republicans.