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Joe Biden, Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema and the American People All Agree: Medicare Negotiations and Reducing Prescription Drug Prices Should Be in Build Back Better

By January 20, 2022No Comments

President Biden and Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema and the American people all agree — we need to lower the cost of prescription drugs. At his press conference yesterday, the president noted the overwhelming popularity for Build Back Better’s drug pricing measures, saying “the American people overwhelmingly agree with me on prescription drugs.” Americans are tired of being forced to make impossible choices between affording essential medications, putting food on the table, or paying rent. As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever that Congress pass the prescription drug provisions in Build Back Better, including allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices,  to ensure families can afford the health care they need. 

President Biden:

“My Build Back Better plan cuts the price of prescription drugs.  So, insulin that today costs some people as much as $1,000 a month will cost no more than $35 a month…The American people overwhelmingly agree with me on prescription drugs.” [President Biden Press Conference, 1/19/22]

“Right now, drug companies will set the price at whatever the market will bear. My plan also caps the amount that seniors on Medicare have to spend on prescription drugs each year to no more than $2,000 per year, with Medicaid and drug companies picking up the rest of the cost. And, again, our plan says that any drug company can only raise prices based on the rate of inflation and caps insulin cost-sharing at $35 a month. So, let me close with this: I’ve long said healthcare should be a right, not a privilege, in this country…This is not a partisan issue.  Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, so many other diseases — they don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican.  This is not whether — it’s not about whether or not your loved ones can afford a prescription drug you need.” [President Biden Press Conference, 12/6/21]

“Here in America, it will not surprise you to know that we pay the highest prescription drug prices of any developed nation in the world. There aren’t a lot of things that almost every American agree — can agree on.  But I think it’s safe to say that all of us –- all of us — whatever our background, our age, where we live — we can agree that prescription drugs are outrageously expensive in this country. It doesn’t need to be that way.  Under my Build Back Better bill, there will be — which has passed the House of Representatives — it won’t be the same way.”  [President Biden Press Conference, 12/6/21]

Senator Manchin:

“We should be also negotiating for lower drug prices.” [Bold Progressive, 10/1/21]

“We definitely should let Medicare negotiate the prescription drug prices. That’s one thing that should be done for sure. My God, look at the VA model. Just take the VA model.” [Bloomberg, 9/23/21]

“That should have been done years ago. How in the heck that never was done doesn’t make any sense at all.” [KHN, 7/15/21]

Senator Sinema:

“The Senator welcomes a new agreement on a historic, transformative Medicare drug negotiation plan that will reduce out-of-pocket costs for seniors — ensuring drug prices cannot rise faster than inflation — save taxpayer dollars, and protect innovation to ensure Arizonans and Americans continue to have access to life-saving medications, and new cures and therapeutics.” [Senator Sinema Press Release, 11/2/21]

Hart Poll Finds Americans Overwhelming Support The Drug Negotiation Provision In Biden’s Build Back Better Plan. 94 percent of participants support reducing the cost of prescription drugs by empowering Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies. [Hart Research, 9/13/21]

Voters From Across Political Spectrum Strongly Support Health Provisions Of Build Back Better. “Of the 16 provisions listed in the survey, five of the top six priorities for voters were health measures…Biden’s comments on lowering prescription drug costs will resonate with the entire electorate: 7 in 10 voters back the provision, including 4 in 5 Democrats and 3 in 5 Republicans.” [Morning Consult/Politico, 12/8/21]

Navigator Poll Confirms Health Care Remains Most Important Reason to Pass Build Back Better. “Top reasons cited as good reasons to pass the plan are lowering health insurance costs, giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices, expanding Medicare, and raising taxes on the wealthy.” [Navigator Research, 11/11/21]

  • Health Reforms Remain Top Priorities For Passing BBB. 82 percent support lowering health insurance premiums, 80 percent support lowering premiums for individuals purchasing insurance on their own, and 80 percent support allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs. [Navigator Research, 11/11/21]