WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and 29 other Senators in reintroducing legislation today to allow Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs—a move that would cut costs for nearly 43 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D.
“Medicare Part D enrolls over 43 million seniors nationwide, meaning that they have enormous bargaining power. However, seniors cannot utilize this power without a seat at the negotiating table,” said Sen. Warner. “This bill takes a commonsense step that will finally allow the government to use its purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices for seniors on Medicare.”
“For years I have pushed to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors, many of whom are on fixed incomes,” Sen. Kaine said. “In the wealthiest nation in the world, our seniors should not have to choose between paying for their medication and putting food on the table or heating their homes.”
Currently, the law forbids Medicare from using its purchasing power to negotiate lower prices from prescription drug companies. The Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices Act would authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to directly negotiate price discounts with drug companies for the Medicare Prescription Drug Program. The bill would do this by eliminating the “non-interference” clause in the Social Security Act that expressly bans Medicare from negotiating better prices.
A bipartisan version of this bill is being led in the House of Representatives by Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Francis Rooney (R-FL).