August 6, 2022

PBGH Statement on the Parliamentarian’s Decision to Limit Drug Provisions in the Reconciliation Bill to Medicare Only

Review of the drug pricing provisions of the reconciliation package by the parliamentarian today resulted in good news for America’s seniors in that it allows Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and potentially lower costs for millions of Americans. This bill represents an historic achievement and a victory for the country.

The parliamentarian, however, also determined that the current language must change so that price increase limits would only apply to Medicare, excluding from the drug provisions of the reconciliation bill protections for working families.

Here, a statement from Alan Gilbert, PBGH vice president of policy, on the implications for the 180 million Americans with private health insurance.

“Today’s ruling sets the stage to pass the first meaningful piece of drug legislation in decades and represents a significant step forward in bringing millions of America’s seniors relief from high drug prices.

“We are, however, very disappointed that the parliamentarian has ruled that limits on drug price increases will apply only for Medicare. Removing the inflation caps for the commercial market leaves working families who have coverage through their employers and other private insurance vulnerable to continually rising prices.

“Since the limits would apply to Medicare only, the bill would not address the serious cost burden of high drug prices for the 180 million Americans with commercial health coverage. Yet, the group that is most vulnerable to high drug prices are those under the age of 65, according to a recent Gallup poll.

“Today’s ruling places increased cost pressures on American families and the employers who provide health benefits to more than half the country, and it increases the need for transparency and accountability for the pharmaceutical industry, including the pharmacy benefit managers who control much of the drug supply chain.”