In his State of the Union address, President Joe Biden tackled an issue that has long been on his agenda. The President called for a bill to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.
That proposal, along with the capping of the price of insulin at $35, was included in the Build Back Better bill that failed in the Senate last year. However, it is clear the president does not intend to give up on this subject. He expressed his hopes that Congress would permit Medicare in the future to negotiate drug prices. The agency is currently not allowed to negotiate the prices of pharmaceutical drugs.
The Build Back Better bill had included provisions for Medicare to be allowed to negotiate prices starting with an initial list of 10 drugs. That number would ultimately have increased to 20 drugs by the year 2028. The bill had also included provisions to cap out -of- pocket spending for Medicare beneficiaries at $2000 for drug benefits. Unfortunately, the bill failed in the Senate, but hopefully these measures that are so important to strengthen the social security safety net for millions of Americans, will be taken up again in the future.
The spending bill which was passed recently by both houses includes at least a billion dollars for health spending. The spending includes funding for research into Alzheimer’s disease as well as funding for the President’s Cancer Moonshot initiative. The goal of the program is to cut the number of cancer-related deaths by 50 percent over the next 25 years. The spending will also invest significantly in maternal child health as well as mental health.