House Democratic leaders today released the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, a bill that would make a series of changes to the Medicare program in an effort to lower the price of prescription drugs. If enacted, the bill would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate directly with drug manufacturers the price of at least 25 — and up to 250 — brand-name prescription drugs that lack price competition in the market. In addition, the bill would apply new inflationary rebates to all drugs in both the Medicare Part B and Part D programs, while also adjusting the Part D program by capping out-of-pocket costs for seniors and individuals with disabilities. It also aims to redirect the savings achieved by this bill to the research and development of new treatments and cures, and potentially to increase benefits for low-income Medicare beneficiaries.
"The AHA applauds today's proposal that takes significant strides toward reducing out-of-control drug prices, which continue to place patients and the providers who care for them at risk," said AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels. "Outrageous drug prices force too many patients into rationing their drugs or leaving their prescriptions unfilled. America's hospitals and health systems see the consequences firsthand: patients coming back through our doors sicker than when they left. Not only do our patients feel it at the pharmacy counter, but the high cost of drugs threatens the ability of hospitals and health systems to acquire needed drugs for patients in their care. We look forward to further reviewing today's proposal and continuing to work with the Administration and the Congress to make progress on lowering drug prices."