Democrats Oppose Drug Pricing Proposal

Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) have announced they will oppose Democrats’ drug pricing proposal, citing concerns about a plan to allow Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies. The three legislators are members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of several panels debating the party’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package.

While patient advocates and most Democratic lawmakers support allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, Republicans and the pharmaceutical industry have opposed the drug pricing plan, arguing that it will hinder innovation and the industry’s ability to develop medications.

“I support many of the proposals being considered this week, but I do not support advancing policies that are not fiscally responsible and jeopardize the bill’s final passage,” Rep. Rice said in a statement.

“I want to be clear — I support Medicare drug price negotiations,” said Rep. Schrader, who introduced an alternative proposal that would limit Medicare’s negotiating power to “the most expensive subset of drugs on the market.”

The representatives’ opposition to the drug pricing plan puts the broader $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, known as the Build Back Better Act, at risk and could potentially force leaders to compromise on its provisions. While the plan can still advance to a floor vote in the House, Democrats cannot afford to lose another vote.

Source: The Washington Post, September 14, 2021.