08.01.17

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Introduces Legislation to Allow Medicare to Negotiate Prescription Drug Prices and Lower Costs for Seniors

Legislation would allow Medicare to negotiate the best possible price of prescription drugs, to cut costs for nearly 41 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D 

Current law only allows for bargaining by pharmaceutical companies but bans Medicare from doing so
 

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) today joined Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in introducing legislation to make sure older Wisconsinites have a better deal on prescription drug costs. The legislation would allow for Medicare to negotiate the best possible price of prescription drugs to cut costs for nearly 41 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D. Current law only allows for bargaining by pharmaceutical companies and bans Medicare from doing so.

“We have a broken system in Washington that prohibits the federal government from negotiating lower prescription drug prices for older Wisconsinites. Our commonsense reform will fix this and help lower out-of-pocket costs for seniors,” said Senator Baldwin. “I have long championed efforts to allow the government to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical corporations to get better prices on lifesaving medicines instead of increasing drug company profits. This legislation is a critical proposal that would help safeguard the Medicare program and keep our promises to seniors and taxpayers.”

The legislation would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to directly negotiate with drug companies for price discounts for the Medicare Prescription Drug Program, eliminating the “non-interference” clause that expressly bans Medicare from negotiating for the best possible prices. By harnessing the bargaining power of nearly 41 million seniors, Medicare could negotiate bigger discounts than pharmaceutical companies.

In addition to Baldwin, Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Udall (D-NM), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are also cosponsors of the legislation.

Senator Baldwin has made addressing skyrocketing prescription drug prices a top priority. Senator Baldwin introduced bipartisan legislation, the FAIR Drug Pricing Act, with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to address skyrocketing prescription drug prices by requiring transparency for pharmaceutical corporations that plan to increase drug prices. Senator Baldwin also joined a group of Senate Democrats to launch a major push to bring down the costs of prescription drugs by introducing the Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act