Prescription Drugs

With the Build Back Better Act having passed the U.S. House of Representatives last fall only to come screeching to a halt when it reached the U.S. Senate due to all 50 Republicans + Dem. Senator Joe Manchin refusing to support it, Congressional Democrats have started introducing standalone bills in an attempt to push through at least some of the more popular provisions.

One of these, which would limit co-pays for insulin to no more than $35/month or less, passed the House last week.

Today, U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, who also sponsored the Senate version of the insulin co-pay cap bill, introduced a second stand-alone bill plucked from the ashes of Build Back Better:

Senator Reverend Warnock Introduces New Legislation to Cap Prescription Drug Costs for Georgia Seniors

As noted a few days ago, House Democrats have officially scheduled a floor vote on H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Act of 2019, for next week:

Pelosi, Hoyer, Pallone, Neal and Scott Joint Statement Announcing Floor Vote on H.R. 3

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr., Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal and Education & Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott released the following joint statement:

“Next week, the House of Representatives will pass the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act.

“We have now received enough guidance from CBO to bring the Lower Drug Costs Now Act to the Floor and to reinvest its savings in one of the most transformational improvements to Medicare since its creation.

Don't ask me why, but for some reason, in the midst of my pushing hard for the major ACA 2.0 bills to be passed (H.R. 1868 and H.R. 1884), I've written nary a word about another important (and actually more impactful if it were to be passed and signed into law) bill: H.R.3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019:

This bill establishes several programs and requirements relating to the prices of prescription drugs.

I'm a bit late to the game on this due to being backlogged, but for the record (via Abby Goodnough of the NY Times):

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday released her long-awaited plan to curb soaring prices of prescription drugs, a political chess move that could prod the Senate to move and heat up congressional negotiations with the White House on a popular but elusive goal.

Ms. Pelosi’s plan, which she was to lay out at a morning news conference, would allow the government to negotiate the price of as many as 250 name-brand drugs for Medicare beneficiaries — an idea that many Republicans hate but that President Trump embraced during his 2016 campaign. Drug companies would also have to offer the agreed-on prices to private insurers or face harsh penalties, which could give the package broader appeal with voters.

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