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House Speaker Unveils Plan to Lower Drug Costs

Plan would allow Medicare to negotiate prices for high-cost drugs

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THURSDAY, Sept. 19, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has revealed a plan to lower the cost of medications for people on Medicare and those with private insurance.

Under the plan, Medicare could bargain with drug companies to get the best prices on 250 expensive drugs, including insulin. Companies that will not negotiate could face heavy penalties, the Associated Press reported. Also, companies that raise costs above inflation would have to rebate Medicare. The reduced prices given to Medicare would also be available to private insurers, the AP says.

Specifically, the Speaker's plan would allow Medicare to negotiate prices for high-cost drugs, including drugs covered by "Part D" and "Part B," such as cancer drugs. Companies refusing a deal would trigger penalties starting at 65 percent of sales; drug makers would have pay rebates to Medicare if they raise prices beyond inflation; and out-of-pocket costs to Medicare recipients would be limited to $2,000 a year. Currently, Medicare has no limit on copays.

If a compromise can be reached among the House, the White House, and the Senate, the drug plan could be added to year-end budget legislation, the AP reported.

AP News Article

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