Roll Call: Democrats kick off push for Medicare drug price negotiations

The leader of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee on Thursday offered a proposal to require the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate prices for drugs covered by the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, is set to formally introduce the bill later Thursday with more than 100 House co-sponsors. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate backed by Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.

“If you only have bidding and you don’t have any power to do anything about those who won’t compete, who won’t negotiate fairly, then you don’t get any place. And so we provide a specific way to encourage negotiation to happen in good faith,” Doggett said.

Supporters of the Doggett bill say it challenges the monopoly-pricing business model that the drug industry currently uses in a way that won’t harm access, since other drug companies would be able to come in and manufacture the drug for a better price.

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