Democrats cut new deal on resuscitated prescription drug cost plan

by mcardinal

Chris Lange, FISM News


Democrats worked furiously over the weekend to negotiate a prescription drug plan in an effort to appease party holdouts and clinch a deal this week on President Biden’s massive social spending and climate change package, with the White House announcing Tuesday that a deal had been struck. 

The new plan gives Medicare negotiating power on some prescription drug prices, places a $2,000 annual cap on out-of-pocket costs for Americans 65 and up, and caps insulin prices at $35 a month. Additionally, companies that raise drug prices at a rate exceeding that of inflation will incur a tax penalty.

“Fixing prescription drug pricing has consistently been a top issue for Americans year after year, including the vast majority of both Democrats and Republicans who want to see a change because they simply cannot afford their medications,” said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer who told reporters the agreement will be included in Biden’s “Build Back Better” legislation.

A previous requirement that would force private insurance companies to extend government-negotiated drug prices to Americans covered under their policies was omitted from the new agreement. 

The negotiations mark the latest effort by Democrats to curry much-needed support from their party’s moderate holdouts –  Senators Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ). 

Following the announcement, Sinema’s office called the measure “historic” and “transformative,” tweeting that she “welcomes” the agreement that will “save taxpayer dollars and protect innovation to ensure Arizonans and Americans continue to have access to life-saving medications, and new cures and therapeutics.”

House Democrats desperate to give the Biden administration a much-needed “win”  have been working around the clock to bring Sinema and Manchin onboard with the president’s ambitious spending package, which has already been slashed to half of its original $3.5 trillion goal.

Manchin recently expressed frustration with negotiations thus far, referring to Biden’s “Build Back Better” frameworks last week as “a shell game hiding the true cost of the bill.” It remains to be seen if this newest concession will procure any favor with the key West Virginia senator.