As part of the Build Back Better Act, President Joe Biden said his plan will lower drug costs. The Biden administration says the plan will take historic action to lower drug prices and stop future increases.
The bill would empower Medicare to negotiate prices and punish drug companies that increase prices on medications past the point of inflation. The Senate returns Monday, and Democrats hope the bill will pass before the holiday. It has already passed in the House. The bill really puts pressure on Big Pharma.
As the White House points out, the U.S. has some of the highest prescription drug prices in the world, two to three times as much as other developed countries.
It’s been 25 years since Falyn Shilts was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. “It’s an expensive disease and we didn’t do anything to cause it,” Shilts said.
Shilts says, without insurance, her medication would be $500. And even with insurance, Shilts knows how lucky she is that she can afford to pay the $75 a month her insulin pens costs, knowing many can’t.
“They’re justifying do I buy groceries or do I buy my insulin? It’s scary. This is life-threatening,” Shilts said.
The average price for a month’s supply of insulin is $375. Biden says the Build Back Better Act would change that.
“Whether you get health insurance through your private policy, the Affordable Care Act or through Medicaid, nobody is going to pay more than $35 a month for insulin,” Biden said.
In addition to insulin, the president says, 10 additional drug prices will be renegotiated, and if the drug companies refuse, they will be taxed. Drug companies will also be face additional taxes if they increase prescription drug prices faster than the rate of inflation. And for seniors on Medicare, the president says, out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs will be capped at $2,000 per year.
“There aren’t a lot of things that every American can agree on, but I think it’s safe to say all of us, all of us whatever background age, where we live can agree prescription drugs are outrageously expensive in this country, it doesn’t need to be that way,” Biden said.
The president is hopeful to get this legislation passed before Christmas.