On Thursday, August 12, US President Joe Biden urged Congress to impose sanctions on drugmakers that will hike prices on prescription medication. He also added that he wants lawmakers to enact legislation to lower drug prices which includes permitting Medicare to negotiate medicine prices.
Biden aims to help reduce the costs of prescription drugs as part of his Build Back Better agenda. He seeks for this to push through Congress as the country faces the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year, several pharmaceutical manufacturers were praised for quickly developing COVID-19 vaccines. However, the outbreak of the deadly disease knocked off the global economy and killed over 617,00 people in the United States. It also withdrew renewed scrutiny to healthcare costs.
Last Thursday, Biden applauded drugmakers for developing coronavirus vaccines that are saving lives worldwide.
Meanwhile, he stated that US prescription drugs are two or three times higher than in any other nation.
Based on the analysis, the reason for the drug price hike is due to the reduction of doctor visits and the surge in demand for over 500 medicines.
This week, the Senate passed the $1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion spending plan for human infrastructure.
Democrats adopted these two strategies after passing the $1.9 trillion COVID-19-related bill last March.
The spending plan is aimed at widening Medicare to add dental, vision, and hearing benefits.
Also, it seeks to lower eligibility among other healthcare, climate, and childcare provisions.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), over 61.2 million people are under the Medicare program for the elderly and disabled.3
In his recent speech, Biden urges CMS to negotiate for a segment of the highest-cost medicines with no rivals.
Congress Passed Biden’s Plan
Furthermore, last Tuesday, Congress passed the bipartisan $1 trillion bill, which received a 69 to 30 vote. It could give the US its largest investments in roads, bridges, airports, and waterways. Right after, the $3.5 trillion spending plan consists of Biden’s key concerns on affordable housing, climate change, and universal preschool.
Democrats quickly passed the budget resolution since they dominated the Senate. This contains spending instructions for the trillions of dollars package follow-up. They are planning to push ahead with this package in the next months using the budget reconciliation process.
An analyst stated that this would bypass the normal rules, which require 60 votes for the legislation to pass.