What Would Happen If Medicare Started Negotiating Drug Prices?

Officials in the Medicaid program do it.

The people at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs do it as well.

So why don’t the folks overseeing the Medicare program negotiate with pharmaceutical companies over the price of prescription drugs?

Pharmaceutical representatives say Medicare negotiations would result in fewer choices for senior citizens who use the program to cover their drug purchases.

However, consumer advocates say Medicare negotiations would drastically reduce the price of medications.

They’d like to see the current policy change.

So, apparently, would some members of Congress.

Late last month, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate introduced the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2017.

The bill would direct the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate lower drug prices under the Medicare Part D plan.

So far, President Trump hasn’t said publicly if he supports the legislation.

In fact, White House officials didn’t respond to a Healthline request for a statement on whether the president would sign such a bill.

The silence comes despite the fact the president said shortly before his inauguration in January that pharmaceutical companies were “getting away with murder” and the government needs to negotiate with the industry.

“Before and after the election, President Trump said over and over again that drug companies were ‘getting away with murder’ and that he wanted to give the government authority to negotiate lower drug prices. That’s what this bill does,” said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., in a statement.

“It’s time for President Trump to follow through on his promises to the American people,” added Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. “We must join the rest of the industrialized world by implementing prescription drug policies that work for everybody, not just the CEOs of the pharmaceutical industry.”


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