Joe Biden pushes Medicare drug-price negotiation


President Biden on Wednesday said Congress should stop yapping about their push to let Medicare negotiate drug prices and actually do it “this year.”

“Let’s do what we’ve always talked about. Let’s give Medicare the power to save hundreds of billions of dollars by negotiating lower prices for prescription drugs,” Mr. Biden said in a joint address to Congress. “That won’t just help people on Medicare – it will lower prescription drug costs for everyone.”

“Let’s get it done this year,” he said.

Progressives like Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont say Mr. Biden already has a vehicle for doing just that — his $1.5 trillion “American Families Plan.”

Mr. Sanders wants the plan to be rewritten to include drug-price negotiation, though Mr. Biden couched the idea late Wednesday as “in addition to my Families Plan.”

Big Pharma and its lobby hate the concept, saying it would hinder cures by taking away money they put into research and development.

Also Wednesday, Mr. Biden said he wants Congress to make super-charged Obamacare subsidies permanent.

Democrats raised the subsidies across the board and lifted the income cap on the assistance offered by the 2010 health law as part of their coronavirus-relief package this year. But the extra help expires after two years.

Many experts said Obamacare supporters would be tempted to extend the assistance indefinitely. Mr. Biden said they were correct.

“Let’s make that provision permanent so their premiums don’t go back up,” he told lawmakers.

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