Democrats’ plans to lower the prices of prescription drugs took a hit on Saturday as they prepared to move their massive appeasement bill across the room.
Send the news: The Senate MP said provisions should be removed from the plan that would have forced drug companies to discount if prices for their products sold to private insurers exceeded inflation, the The US Express News reports.
- The provisions are included in the Inflation Reduction Act 2022, the broad package that includes parts for health care costs, energy and climate change and the national deficit, per TUSEN.
Why it matters: Smashing the language could lead patients with private insurance to pay higher costs for prescription drugs by discouraging drug manufacturers from keeping prices at bay, per TUSEN.
- However, the companies would still have to pay fines if their prices for drugs that Medicare buys are too high.
- The changes will eliminate $288 billion in savings that Democrats had estimated the original provisions would lead to more than a decade, per TUSEN.
Yes but: Other key provisions remain, including provisions that allow Medicare to negotiate the cost of the drugs it purchases, cover out-of-pocket expenses for seniors and provide free vaccines, the TUSEN reports.
What they say: Despite the setback, Democrats said their plan would still benefit people.
- “This is a great victory for the American people,” Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said in a statement Saturday. “While there was an unfortunate ruling that the inflation discount is more limited, the overall program remains intact and we are one step closer to finally engaging Big Pharma and lowering Rx drug prices for millions of Americans.”
Mitch McConnell, RK.Y., released released his own statement Saturday, in which he lamented the Democrats’ “tax-and-spending spree” ahead of a scheduled vote on the $739 billion spending bill.
- “Democrats have already robbed American families through inflation once, and now their solution is to rob American families a second time. Democrats want to ram hundreds of billions of dollars in tax hikes and hundreds of billions of dollars in reckless spending — and for what “For a so-called inflation bill which will not significantly reduce inflation at all and will make inflation even worse in the near term,” the statement said.
What’s next: John Thune, a minority whip, said the Senate expects to begin the vote-a-Rama process tonight to pass the bill.