PRESCRIPTION DRUG FOCUS.
TWO PRESCRIPTION DRUG HEARINGS IN THE HOUSE. The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions will each hold hearings focusing on prescription drug pricing reforms. Both hearings come on the heels of the re-introduction of Democratic and Republican prescription drug reform proposals. Democrats reintroduced H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act on April 22, which includes progressive reforms for prescription drug pricing, including allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices. As a reminder, H.R. 3 passed the House of Representatives on December 12, 2019, by a party-line vote of 230-192, and then died in the Senate. In 2019, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the price negotiation provisions alone in the bill would save the federal government about $456 billion over 10 years. Prescription drug reforms included in the Democrats’ new version of H.R. 3 are being discussed as offsets to the cost of the upcoming infrastructure packages.
House Republicans also recently reintroduced the Lower Costs, More Cures Act, which serves as a marker for the drug pricing principles of the party. While several of the proposals outlined in this bill may have bipartisan support, most Democrats believe the legislation does not go far enough to control drug prices.
Both bills include updates to the original versions that were introduced in the 116th Congress. The Democratic bill removes all spending provisions, and the Republican bill removes all provisions that were signed into law through other legislative vehicles. The hearings this week will review these two bills.
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