October 26, 2021

Congress Must Keep Its Promise to Lower Drug Costs for All Americans

The Danger:

The reconciliation bill currently being debated in Congress would reduce future prescription drug costs for everyone in the United States. It does this by limiting how much drug makers can raise prices for medications that have no market competition. Some members of Congress seem to think only people on Medicare deserve lower drug costs and are working to eliminate price protections for working Americans younger than 65.

The reconciliation bill in its current form would save employers and Americans with private health insurance nearly $250 billion over 10 years.* But if Congress only applies cost savings to people on Medicare, 180 million Americans will get no relief from high drug prices, and may be left to pay even more.

The Drug Companies Told Us They’ll Raise Prices:

Economists continue to debate the extent to which drug makers would increase prices for working Americans to make up for the profits they’ll lose if drug prices are reduced only for Medicare and not private insurance — a practice called “cost-shifting.” But PhRMA already told us in formal comments to the Department of Health and Human Services drug manufacturers would likely increase prices in the commercial market:

“… Government experts found that proposals to extend Medicaid rebates to other government programs will likely increase Medicaid spending and negatively affect other drug payers, such as employers in the commercial market.”

A Call for Congress:

Congressional leaders have made public promises to bring down prescription drug costs for all Americans. They need to keep those promises. Any drug price legislation must protect working people and their families, not just those with Medicare coverage. Americans with private insurance are already paying too much for their prescription drugs and need relief.

 


* EmployersRx estimate based on analysis by Council for Informed Drug Spending Analysis, with inflation caps based on drug prices in 2021.
cidsa.org/publications/federal-revenue-generated-by-extending-drug-price-inflation-caps-to-the-commercial-market

 

About EmployersRx:

The Employers’ Prescription for Affordable Drugs (EmployersRx) is a coalition of the Purchaser Business Group on Health, National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, The Erisa Industry Committee (ERIC), American Benefits Council, Silicon Valley Employers Forum and HR Policy Association. EmployersRx supports public policies that drive down the cost of drugs while preserving true innovation as part of a value-based health care system. Learn more at EmployersRx.org.