AARP recently did a poll of registered voters over the age of 50 and found that 75% of them take at least one prescription drug and that more than half of seniors are "at least somewhat concerned about affording prescription drugs for themselves or their family over the next few years." One of the drugs I take, VIMPAT (locosamide) costs, on average, $1027.34/month. Many people who undergo chemo wind up with life-long neuropathy as a side effect. The Republican Party scam called Medicare Part D covers VIMPAT for epilepsy and for diabetic neuropathy but not for neuropathy due to chemo. It's an arbitrary decision but I've fought them for years and they're not budging. In other countries, VIMPAT costs less than half what it does in the U.S. So seniors fears about being able to afford meds is not unfounded. Perhaps if more people thought more carefully about it, Bernie would be president and there wouldn't be any Republicans or conservative Democrats in Congress.
Bernie and other progressives want to include a provision in the reconciliation bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate prices down to be more in line with what Europeans and Canadians pay. Biden is more interested in some vague and foolish notion of "bipartisanship," which he will never see anyway, than in getting something this crucial done for the American people. It's really stupid. Besides, it wouldn't just save consumers a lot of money, it would save the government hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.
Big PhRMA lobbyists are already fighting with everything they've got and you will be able to watch the most corrupt Democrats join the Republicans in trying to torpedo this. They're whining that the proposal is an unwarranted tax on the industry that would damage its ability to fund research and innovation. Democrats is swing districts understand how important the issue is for voters and 15 of them-- mostly conservatives who you would expect to be on the other side of the issue-- sent a letter to Pelosi, Schumer, Bernie and House Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth urging "that the next reconciliation bill brought before Congress include giving Medicare the authority and the tools to effectively negotiate prescription drug prices as President Biden called for in his address to Congress."
Holey Moley! That's not just from progressives like Katie Porter and Lauren Underwood but also from a bunch of cowardly and politically-degenerate Blue Dogs and New Dems like Cynthia Axne (IA), Elissa Slotkin (MI), Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA), Susie Lee (NV) who have all be persuaded that voters in their districts prefer Republican-lite candidates. "Each day, American families are forced into an impossible choice: to not take their medicine, to ration it, or to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head. As you know, pharmaceutical corporations are charging Americans prices that are three, four, and even ten times higher than what they charge for the same drugs in other countries-- even though they admit they still make a profit overseas. Finally giving Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices to ensure that Americans are no longer price-gouged for life-saving medications is critical. Further, we must ensure that we extend these savings beyond Medicare to those with private insurance as well. According to the Congressional Budget Office," they wrote, "allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices would save American taxpayers $456 billion in just the first ten years alone. We can and must use these savings to reinvest in our health care system. With public support of Medicare price negotiation of prescription drugs at nearly 90%, it is time to take action. Thank you for your time and consideration."
Since 1990, these are the dozen biggest recipients of drug money (not counting substantial hauls from lobbyists) among current corrupt members of the House:
Anna Eshoo (D-CA)- $1,902,231
Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)- $1,824,166
Fred Upton (R-MI)- $1,675,319
Frank Pallone (D-NJ)- $1,652,929
Steny Hoyer (D-MD)- $1,196,963
Michael Burgess (R-TX)- $1,094,374
Kevin Brady (R-TX)- $1,081,083
Ron Kind (Blue Dog-WI)- $1,023,779
Richard Neal (D-MA)- $990,421
Brett Guthrie (R-KY)- $977,977
Jim Clyburn (D-SC)- $947,119
Steve Scalise (R-LA)- $886,893
Just last cycle, Big PhRMA paid in $283,186,274 bribes to members of Congress. That kind of cash year after year helps explain why drug prices remain so high. Even non-incumbent candidates are out selling their prospective votes and are sometimes rewarded with massive bribes. Last cycle the dozen non-incumbents, only 2 of whom won seats (both grotesque conservatives) who took the most from the drug industry were:
Tom Kean (R-NJ), who's running again this year- $82,128
Christina Hale (D-IN)- $81,170
Nancy Goroff (D-NY)- $77,826
Rep. Jake Auchincloss (New Dem-MA)- 66,435
Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (Blue Dog)- $50,486
Amy Kennedy (D-NJ), who's running again- $48,880
Sri Kulkarni (D-TX)- $48,261
Christina Finello (D-PA)- $44,823
Kate Schroder (D-OH)- $42,892
Ammar Campa-Najjar (D-CA)- $41,338
Tedra Cobb (D-NY)- $41,116
Wendy Davis (D-TX)- $40,314
Last month ABC News reported that "The cost of prescription drugs is soaring... even during the pandemic, consumers have had to pay three times more for some of their medicines... faster than general inflation for more than a decade. For the average older American taking 4.7 prescription drugs per month, the annual cost of therapy was more than $31,000 in 2020-more than three and a half times the cost seen 15 years earlier. This amount exceeds the average annual income for Medicare beneficiaries."
The Democrats would have to be insane-- and politically-suicidal-- to screw this one up. They have the power to get it done-- and the voters know that.