Home drug price measurement in trouble as three Democrats announce opposition


TThree House Democrats on Tuesday announced party opposition to legislation that would allow direct negotiations on drug prices between the government and drug companies, jeopardizing progress on the measure at the committee level.

The three “no’s” would be enough to tie the total vote of the House Energy and Commerce Committee if all Republican members also object.


California Democratic Representative Scott Peters, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee working to approve the provision as part of a multibillion-dollar partisan infrastructure and social spending bill, said Tuesday he opposed it.

“I have proposed an alternative model of drug price reform that will deliver on Democrats’ promise to reduce out-of-pocket drug costs, in part by empowering the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate prices,” Peters said. Tuesday.

Peters and fellow Democratic Representative Kurt Schrader of Oregon, members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, drafted a narrower alternative to the more drastic measure favored by the liberal wing of the party, known as HR 3, which would allow the government to negotiate drug prices directly with drug companies. GOP lawmakers have long opposed direct negotiation of drug prices, saying it would stifle innovation in future cures and treatments.

Schrader also announced on Tuesday that he would not support the more sweeping drug pricing bill.

“We need to be serious about how to solve this problem by making sure we defend legislation with broadly supported policies that have the bipartisan and bicameral support necessary to pass Congress,” Schrader said, according to a statement from his office. “I don’t think the drug pricing provision before the Energy and Trade Committee today will achieve this and succeed in the Senate, so I can’t vote for the title.”

Rival Peters and Schrader legislation would “preserve innovation” by giving the government tighter bargaining power over drugs that have no other market competitors. Peters’ bill also has the support of Democratic Reps Kathleen Rice of New York, Lou Correa of ​​California and Stephanie Murphy of Florida.

Rice, also a member of the Energy and Trade Committee, also announced on Tuesday that she would not support Democrats’ drug pricing policies, which she said are “not fiscally responsible and undermine adoption. final bill “.

While HR 3 would cap out-of-pocket expenses for drugs for the elderly under Medicare at $ 2,000, Peters’ legislation would adjust the cap on out-of-pocket expenses based on income, ranging from $ 1,200 to 3,100. $, so the poorest seniors enrolled in the government health care program would get the greatest amount of help.

Peters said in a statement Tuesday that he was eager to work with his fellow Democrats to “achieve reforms that help patients, support future innovation and expand American jobs.”

House Democrats first passed HR 3, or Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, in December 2019, but it stalled before securing a vote in the then-majority GOP Senate. The Congressional Budget Office, a federal agency that provides economic advice to Congress, estimated that the price negotiation provision in HR 3 could save the federal government more than $ 456 billion over a decade. The CBO has yet to release an updated score for Bill Peters or for other healthcare proposals pushed by Democrats in this Congress, such as expanding Medicare benefits to include hearing, dental and visual coverage.


The energy and trade committee met on Tuesday morning to discuss the Democrats’ drug price negotiation proposal, which the party plans to include in the $ 3.5 trillion social infrastructure package known as the Build Back Better Act in the House.

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Key words: Health, News, Biden Administration, House Democrats, House Energy and Commerce Committee, House GOP, Infrastructure

Original author: Cassidy Morrison

Original location: Home drug price measurement in trouble as three Democrats announce opposition

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