HCN News & Notes

U.S. Lawmakers Introduce Lowering Drug Costs for American Families Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Democratic Health Committee leaders introduced new legislation to further lower prescription drug prices for American families and rein in pharmaceutical price gouging. The bill was introduced by U.S. Reps. Richard Neal, Ways and Means Committee ranking member; Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone Jr.; and Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott.

Nearly one year ago, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, granting the secretary of Health and Human Services — for the first time — the authority to negotiate lower drug prices for America’s seniors, lifting restrictions that had been in place for nearly 20 years preventing Medicare from negotiating drug prices. The law also further reduced drug prices for seniors by penalizing pharmaceutical companies that raised prices faster than the rate of inflation. The Lowering Drug Costs for American Families Act aims to build on this progress by ensuring more Americans can benefit from the law’s provisions.

“The Lowering Drug Costs for American Families Act builds on our historic work in the Inflation Reduction Act to expand access to lower drug prices negotiated by Medicare to even more Americans,” Neal said. “This legislation is another step to bringing down the costs of prescription drugs and putting an end to the unconscionable decision to forgo life-saving medication.”

The Lowering Drug Costs for American Families Act builds on the drug-pricing provisions included in the Inflation Reduction Act last year. Specifically, the bill would:

• Extend the historic drug-price negotiation program to all Americans with private coverage. This includes more than 164 million workers and their families who get health coverage through their jobs and more than 16 million individuals with marketplace coverage;

• Stop drug companies from raising prices faster than inflation by ensuring that the inflation rebates enacted under the Inflation Reduction Act also apply to individuals covered by private health plans. Extending the inflation rebates to privately covered American workers can save as much as $40 billion over the next decade alone; and

• Strengthen the drug-price negotiation program to deliver more savings by increasing the annual number of prescription drugs selected for negotiation from 20 to 50.