Rep. Wild Leads Letter of Frontline Democrats to Urge Leadership to Include Medicare Negotiation in Reconciliation Bill
Washington, D.C. – Today, Representative Susan Wild (PA-07) led a letter to Democratic leadership urging them to include Medicare negotiation power in the upcoming reconciliation bill. She is joined in sending the letter by Reps. Colin Allred (TX-32), Cindy Axne (IA-03), Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07), Angie Craig (MN-02), Sharice Davids (KS-03), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Susie Lee (NV-03), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Katie Porter (CA-45), Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), Haley Stevens (MI-11), and Lauren Underwood (IL-14).
The representatives wrote, “We write today to urge that the next reconciliation bill brought before Congress include giving Medicare the authority and the tools to effectively negotiate prescription drug prices as President Biden called for in his address to Congress. Empowering Medicare in this way and making these negotiated prices available to the private sector will bring down the cost of prescription drugs not just for seniors, but also for individuals and families across America. This is all the more urgent given that drug prices were just raised this month as part of the tradition of pharmaceutical corporations hiking prices twice per year in both January and July. In January 2021, drug companies hiked the price of 783 drugs; 100% of these hikes were above the rate of inflation. The largest single drug price hike so far this month was a price increase of 9.5%.
“Each day, Americans families are forced into an impossible choice: to not take their medicine, to ration it, or to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head. As you know, pharmaceutical corporations are charging Americans prices that are three, four, and even ten times higher than what they charge for the same drugs in other countries – even though they admit they still make a profit overseas. Finally giving Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices to ensure that Americans are no longer price-gouged for life-saving medications is critical. Further, we must ensure that we extend these savings beyond Medicare to those with private insurance as well.”
The letter comes as Senate Democrats unveil their framework for budget reconciliation, including expansions to Medicare that include vision and dental coverage. The effort by Wild has the support of key drug cost advocacy groups, including Lower Drug Prices Now, Patients for Affordable Drugs Now, and the AARP.
“The reconciliation process gives Congress a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do meaningful reform to lower the price of prescription drugs for tens of millions of Americans,” said Margarida Jorge, Campaign Director for Lower Drug Prices Now. “We are grateful for the leadership of the signers of this letter, and so many other champions in Congress, who understand now is the moment to deliver on this long promised relief from sky high prescription drug prices. We look forward to working with them and leadership to get it done.”
“We’re grateful to Congresswoman Wild and this group of Representatives for urging leadership to include Medicare negotiation — which 9 out of ten Americans support — in the next reconciliation bill," said Sarah Kaminer Bourland, Legislative Director at Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “These members know that this year provides the best opportunity in a decade to pass legislation that brings meaningful relief to their constituents who are struggling to afford their prescription drugs.”
“A recent AARP survey found that 87% of older Americans support allowing Medicare to negotiate,” said Nancy LeaMond, Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy Officer, AARP. “There’s no reason why Medicare should be prohibited from using its bargaining power to get a better deal for the 40 million Part D beneficiaries, especially for the highest-priced drugs and those drugs with little or no market competition. We urge Congress to take action to lower drug prices now.”
The full letter is available here.