The House of Representatives today voted 230-192 to approve the Lower Prescription Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), legislation that would make changes to the Medicare program in an effort to lower prescription drug prices. According to a legislative summary, the bill would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate prices for up to 250 drugs without competition. It also would require drug makers to pay rebates to Medicare if their prices increase faster than inflation; cap annual out-of-pocket costs for Part D beneficiaries at $2,000; and expand access to the Part D low-income subsidy and Medicare Savings Program, among other provisions.
As amended on the floor, the bill also would create an HHS grant program to help hospitals in rural and medically underserved areas start a graduate medical education program or partner with a hospital that has an existing program. Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., introduced the amendment.
The Senate is not expected to vote on the legislation.