President Biden Outlines the Ways “Build Back Better” will Lower Drug Prices

President Biden, citing the “outrageously expensive” cost of insulin and other prescription medications, called on Congress last week to pass his Build Back Better bill, which contains multiple provisions to lower drug prices.

In his brief remarks at the White House, the president pointed to the cost of insulin needed to treat Type 1 diabetes, which affects about 1.6 million Americans.

Those with the disease pay anywhere from $375 to $1,000 per month for the drug, but the House-passed measure would cap insulin prices at $35 per month.

Biden’s plan would also allow Medicare to negotiate certain drug prices with manufacturers, something now prohibited, and it would cap out-of-pocket costs for some prescription drugs for Medicare recipients at $2,000 a year.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) said in a letter to senators on Monday that his goal is to have the measure approved by Christmas, but that deadline may be hard to meet. The Senate’s parliamentarian is still reviewing parts of the bill for compliance with the “Byrd rule,” which restricts what the budget measure can contain.

It’s unclear what changes some Democratic senators, including Joe Manchin (WV), may demand for their support of the measure, which will require the votes of all 50 Senate Democrats for passage.

If it passes in the Senate, the legislation is expected to be different from the recently House-approved version and would need to go back to the House for final passage before President Biden can sign it into law.

“We need the Senate to act quickly,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance. “Seniors have already been waiting too long for relief from high drug prices.”

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