The White House on Thursday dropped its widely popular plan to lower prescription drug costs after progressive pushback over a deal reached by Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Politico reports.
Sinema reached a deal with the White House on prescription drugs but progressives said it was insufficient.
“Sinema struck a deal with President Biden to include Medicare drug negotiation in the framework, consistent with the proposal authored by Congressman Scott Peters, with some edits in the insulin space to further lower costs for consumers. It is unclear if it will be included in the framework this morning — that decision was left with House leadership and Chairman Pallone,” a source told Politico.
But the White House did not include the plan in its framework released on Thursday.
The White House framework slashes Biden’s original $3.5 trillion proposal to $1.75 trillion and eliminates many of the provisions Democrats had sought, including a Medicare expansion that would be funded by the prescription drug savings.
Bill not enough:
Sinema backed a bill pushed by California Rep. Scott Peters, one of the top recipients of pharmaceutical industry donations.
While Democrats sought to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices which was projected to save about $450 billion over the next decade, Peters sought to restrict negotiations.
Peters’ bill would have limited negotiations to hospital-administered drugs even though more than 80% of drugs are sold to consumers.
Peters would have also limited negotiation during drugs’ period of exclusivity, which progressives argued was pointless because generics drop costs after the exclusivity expires.
Peters’ bill would have saved about $200 billion over the next decade.
What’s in the bill?
The Biden framework does not include Medicare expansion but provides health care subsidies and expands Medicaid to states that did not expand it under the Affordable Care Act.
The framework also includes a Child Tax Credit expansion, child care and housing subsidies, and more than $500 billion in tax breaks and grants for companies that reduce their emissions.
The bill is expected to be financed by a surtax on top earners, a 15% corporate minimum tax, and a tax on internal companies, among other measures.
But it’s unclear whether the bill has the votes to pass after pushback from progressives.