WASHINGTON – Democratic lawmakers have agreed on legislation to lower the prices of prescription drugs to be included in President Bidensocial spending package, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.) announced on Tuesday.
The deal is less far-reaching than previous Democratic proposals, but still represents progress on an issue the party has campaigned on for years.
The agreement would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices in limited cases, prevent drug companies from raising prices faster than inflation, and limit out-of-pocket costs for seniors with Medicare to $ 2,000 per year.
Democrats cut back their previous sweeping measure due to concerns from a handful of moderates that it would have hurt drug companies’ innovation to develop new treatments. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) As well as Reps. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) AND Kurt schrader (D-Ore.) They were among those moderates and helped lead the negotiations with the leadership on the compromise measure.
“It is not everything we all wanted. Many of us would have liked to go much further, but it is a big step in helping the American people deal with the price of drugs, “Schumer told reporters Tuesday.
Sinema said in a statement that it supported the deal.
“The Senator welcomes a new agreement on a historic and transformative Medicare drug negotiation plan that will reduce out-of-pocket costs for seniors, ensuring that drug prices cannot rise faster than inflation, save dollars to taxpayers and protect innovation to ensure Arizonans and Americans continue to have access to life-saving drugs and new cures and therapies, ”Sinema’s office said.
One of the key commitments that led to a deal was limiting the scope of Medicare’s ability to negotiate lower drug prices, which has long been a signature Democratic proposal. Legislators agreed to limit Medicare’s ability to negotiate to older drugs that no longer have “exclusivity,” that is, the period in which they are protected from competition. Earlier versions of the Democratic bills would also have allowed the negotiation of newer drugs.
A draft measure that was distributed to lobbyists in recent days would allow the negotiation of 10 drugs from 2025 and 30 drugs from 2028.
The final agreement would also extend caps on prices for drugs that rise faster than inflation to people with private health insurance plans, which has been a point of contention at some points in the process.
Spokesman Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Who had championed the Democrats’ earlier and broader drug pricing bill for years, praised that provision and the overall agreement. Pelosi spoke with Sinema over the weekend to help finalize the deal, according to Sinema’s office.
“For a generation, House Democrats have been fighting for real negotiations on the price of drugs that will lower costs,” said Pelosi. “With today’s agreement on strong provisions on lower drug prices for the Better Reconstruction Act, Democrats have a way to go in meeting this transformative agenda for our seniors.”