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Biden To Urge Congress for Wider Medicare Drug Price Bargaining Powers

President Joe Biden is set to request Congress to significantly widen Medicare’s ability to negotiate drug prices, aiming to make medications more affordable for Americans over 65.

The Inflation Reduction Act’s Role

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The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 laid the groundwork for Medicare to discuss lower drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, leveraging its considerable purchasing power to benefit its enrollees.

Increasing Drugs for Negotiation

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Currently, the plan allows for negotiating the prices of 10 to 20 drugs annually through 2029. Biden’s proposal intends to raise this number to 50 drugs each year. 

Implementation Timeline

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Negotiations on the first set of 10 drugs have already started, with anticipated price adjustments to be enacted in 2026.

The plan is set to scale up gradually, ultimately affecting more drugs annually by 2029.

Previous Calls for Expansion

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Biden had made a similar appeal last year for expanding Medicare’s negotiation capabilities, but Congress did not act on it.

This year’s attempt faces the challenge of gaining approval from a divided Congress.

Legal Challenges From Drugmakers

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The pharmaceutical industry has contested the negotiation program in court, claiming it violates the U.S. Constitution by infringing on their property rights without due process.

However, the program has withstood legal scrutiny thus far.

A Pillar of Biden’s Reelection Campaign

Credits: DepositPhotos – US President Joe Biden attends an event in the state of Pennsylvania. August 30, 2022, Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, USA: US President Joe Biden speaks on security and firearms during an event in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday (30) — Photo by thenews2.com

Reducing healthcare costs remains a cornerstone of Biden’s 2024 reelection bid.

He plans to urge Congress to extend the negotiation program’s reach and enhance other healthcare benefits.

Proposal for Out-of-Pocket Cap Expansion

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Biden will reportedly suggest broadening the $2,000 limit on Medicare prescription drug out-of-pocket expenses to encompass all private insurance plans starting in 2025.

Rebate Requirement Extension

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Additionally, the president will recommend that pharmaceutical companies’ obligation to repay Medicare for price increases exceeding inflation be applied to sales in the commercial market as well.

Capping Generic Drug Costs

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A new proposal aims to limit out-of-pocket expenses for common generic drugs to $2 for individuals on Medicare, further reducing healthcare costs for seniors.

Negotiation Expansion’s Significance

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Expanding the number of drugs eligible for Medicare negotiation represents a significant step towards making healthcare more accessible and affordable for older Americans.

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