House Committee Leaders Target Medicare Part D With Draft Legislation To Lower Drug Costs
“Already this Congress, our committees have held several hearings with patients and experts from across the political spectrum to discuss options to lower prescription drug prices,” the bipartisan group of House lawmakers said. “Universally these witnesses agreed that Medicare Part D can and should be improved to cap out-of-pocket spending, and lower costs both for the patients and for the Medicare program.” The bill came the same week as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi began to test the waters on negotiating powers for Medicare.
House Leaders Propose Restructuring Medicare Part D
U.S. House of Representatives health committee leaders have drafted new reforms to Medicare Part D as Congress prepares for a final legislative sprint on drug pricing. On Thursday, the Democratic chairs and ranking Republicans of the Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce panels released the discussion draft of a bill to cap what people have to pay out-of-pocket for medications under Medicare Part D. (Luthi, 5/23)
House Committee Leaders Release Bipartisan Drug Pricing Bill
The House Energy and Commerce and the Ways and Means committees’ draft bill would cap out-of-pocket costs in Medicare Part D, while increasing health plans’ share of costs in the catastrophic phase. The draft bill would cap patient cost-sharing at Medicare’s catastrophic spending threshold — set at $8,140 in 2019 — after which Medicare currently picks up 80 percent of the tab. The bill would also reduce the government’s obligation from 80 percent to 20 percent over four years, increasing financial pressure on health plans. Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J.; ranking member Greg Walden, R-Ore.; Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass.; and ranking member Kevin Brady, R-Texas, released a joint statement touting the proposal. (Clason, 5/23)
Pelosi Floats Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Plan
Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California began taking House Democrats’ temperature this week on an approach to one of their long-held promises — government negotiation on Medicare prescription drug prices. But the outlines of the proposal leaders are discussing might not go far enough for many Democratic lawmakers. In Medicare’s prescription drug benefit, Part D, private health insurers that administer the drug plans currently negotiate with drugmakers on price and coverage of their products. (Siddons, 5/23)