On Friday, President Donald Trump unveiled his blueprint to lower drug prices but had failed to include changes that would allow Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices.
Trump, during the election campaign, promised that he would allow Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies for better prices. But now, the President’s “American Patients First” program apparently aims to keep Medicare out of the system.
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said that Trump should work with the Democrats to offer real solutions for struggling families. He should not waste their time “bragging about meagre, window-dressing policies,” she said in a statement to the press.
She added that the president is breaking his promise to the American people to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, which would save seniors billions of dollars at the pharmacy.
“Democrats have a strong, detailed plan to allow Medicare to negotiate for lower prices, stop price gouging, increase transparency in pricing, and expand access to life-saving medications while encouraging innovation and lowering the soaring costs of prescription drugs for everyone. We are firmly committed to fighting the outrageous price hikes and profiteering that are devastating children, seniors and working families across the country,” she said.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen said that although she agrees with President Trump’s intention to address prescription drug costs, she is disappointed that his proposal fails to include Medicare price negotiation.
She explained that allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices with manufacturers would help make medication for chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure more affordable for patients for whom access to prescription medications can be a matter of life and death. Shaheen also reiterated that allowing direct drug price negotiation by Medicare could help improve the affordability and accessibility of naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug that is essential to saving lives in New Hampshire. “I hope the President will reconsider this decision and follow through on his promise to include Medicare negotiation in his plan,” she said.
According to a recent report by KFF, the U.S. spends over $300 billion on prescription drugs per year. In 2015, Medicare’s share of that total hit $110 billion.