Undercurrent

Lee, Horsford rejoice as prescription drugs put back in Build Back Better

By: - November 2, 2021 4:02 pm

Democrats have long sought to allow Medicare to negotiate for prescription drug prices. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Originally it was in. Then last week it was out. This week it’s back in.

Under the latest deal announced Tuesday, Senate Democrats have reached an agreement that would allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and implement other reforms designed to lower prescription drug costs. Prescription drug reforms, championed on Democratic campaign trails nationwide for decades, had been included in President Joe Biden’s initial climate and social services legislation the White House has dubbed “Build Back Better.” However, when Biden announced a pared down framework for the legislation last week, prescription drug reforms were among the policy priorities that had been axed. 

With Tuesday’s agreement reviving prescription drug reforms, “we’re one step closer to lower drug prices, not just for seniors, but for all hardworking families,” Nevada Democratic Rep. Susie Lee said in a statement. Lee represents Nevada’s third congressional district, considered the state’s one true swing district since it was created after the 2000 census. Like many Democratic candidates nationwide, the two-term congresswoman has made lower prescription drug costs a centerpiece issue in her campaigns.

In a separate statement, Nevada Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford said the prescription drug reform agreement includes a provision he sponsored to limit out-of-pocket costs to $2,000 under Medicare Part D.

“Today, Democrats have sent a clear message that people matter more than pharmaceutical profits,” Horsford said.

Horsford represents Nevada’s fourth congressional district. The district has voted reliably Democratic since it was created after the 2010 census, with one exception, which came at Horsford’s expense in 2014.

The Biden legislative package initially called for spending $3.5 trillion over ten years, but by the time the latest framework was announced last week it had been trimmed to $1.75 trillion. Negotiations on several provisions of the legislation are ongoing, and no votes are scheduled.

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Hugh Jackson
Hugh Jackson

Hugh Jackson was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and author of the Las Vegas Gleaner political blog. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and editor at the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune.

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