Speaker Nancy Pelosi To Unveil Plan To Negotiate Prices Of 250 Prescription Drugs
Added 09-19-19 05:07:01am EST - “The House speaker has been privately working for months on legislation aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs, a rare shared priority with President Trump.” - Npr.org
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi outside the U.S. Capitol on July 25, 2019. Andrew Harnik/AP hide caption
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will introduce Thursday her long-anticipated plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs. It is a priority shared by President Trump, fueling a glimmer of hope that there is a deal to be had on the issue ahead of the 2020 elections.
The speaker's proposal would allow the federal government, through the Health and Human Services secretary, to negotiate prices for the top 250 most expensive drugs on the market that don't have at least two competitors. The amounts would be pegged to the costs of the same drugs in other countries — which are generally much cheaper — under an "international price index." It would also levy steep fines on drug companies that refuse to engage in negotiations, and put limits on how much drug costs can go up.
It is rare for the speaker to take an early and formative role in crafting a bill — policy work generally left to committees — so Pelosi's engagement on the issue sends a clear message that the bill is a top priority for the party. Her office has been quietly negotiating the details of the proposal for months, which Pelosi has run by moderate and progressive factions within the Democratic Caucus ahead of today's official release.
The speaker met Tuesday evening with the Blue Dog Coalition, a faction of moderates who often represent many of the party's swing seats. "We appreciate that Speaker Pelosi took the time to meet with the Blue Dogs to discuss a path forward to lower the cost of prescription drugs," said Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., a co-chair of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition, said in a statement. "Our constituents want to see solutions implemented today, and we hope House Republicans will join in coming forward with bold solutions to bring down drug costs and increase transparency surrounding drug pricing."
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