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Biden's "Build Back Better" Plan Would Allow Medicare to Negotiate for Lower Drug Prices

With the infrastructure bill finalized, congressional Democrats will now try to pass President Joe Biden's Build Back Better initiative which includes provisions to lower prescription drug prices. Americans pay far more for them than patients in other developed nations.

VOX: "The facts on the ground had become impossible to ignore. The United States accounts for between 64 and 78 percent of the drug industry’s profits across the world. Americans pay about 3.5 times more on average per dose of medication, brand-name and generic, than Europeans."

After weeks of negotiations, Democrats have settled on a compromise that will allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices with pharmaceutical companies and cap the amount that Medicare participants would have to pay each year.

New York Times: "The drug price regulation Congress is now considering would achieve three main goals. It would limit the amount that Medicare patients can be asked to pay for drugs out-of-pocket. It would restrict how much drugmakers can increase their prices each year. And, for the first time, it would allow Medicare to negotiate directly with drugmakers on prices for their medications."

Drug companies have lobbied against such legislation for years arguing that price controls would hinder innovation and slow the process of bringing new drugs to market. Medical policy experts say that is a legitimate concern so the reconciliation bill limits the number of drugs that would be subject to negotiation and ramps that number up slowly. Still, it would save Medicare and seniors about $250 billion.

So far, both moderates and progressives in the House and Senate seem satisfied with the compromise, and many Republican voters support the initiative. If the reconciliation bill is passed, allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices might well be the most widely popular component of the legislation. And, like infrastructure, it would be another initiative that Donald Trump spoke about doing, that Joe Biden actually got done.

#healthcare #news #politics

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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