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Politics: Five reasons for concern about Democrats' drug price control plan

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  How Biden could make our growing problem with fentanyl even worse Drug overdose deaths in the U.S. have reached more than 100,000, due to fentanyl and its analogs, but the Biden administration is pushing for a policy that would only make things worse.In September, the Biden administration urged Congress to make permanent a failed Trump-era policy that could further criminalize and endanger those who use drugs: a classwide ban on fentanyl analogs (drugs that are molecularly similar to fentanyl), which is set to expire Jan. 28. Almost two-thirds of drug overdose deaths in the provisional data involved synthetic opioids (including fentanyl and its analogs). That’s 64,178 deaths, compared to about 36,000 in 2019 and about 31,000 in 2018.

WASHINGTON — House Democrats reached a deal on Tuesday to add a measure to curb prescription drug costs to President Biden’s .85 trillion social safety net plan , agreeing to allow the government for the first time to negotiate prices for medications covered by Medicare as they pushed for a quick “Fixing prescription drug pricing has consistently been a top issue for Americans year after year, including the vast majority of both Democrats and Republicans who want to see a change because they simply cannot afford their medications,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York

WASHINGTON — A Democratic plan to lower prescription drug prices as part of the party’s . 5 trillion social policy package failed in a House committee on Wednesday after moderates refused to support it, highlighting internal divisions that could complicate the legislation’s path to enactment. High drug prices are a major consumer issue and a top voter concern . All three of the holdouts voted for nearly identical legislation when it passed the House in 2019. “Polling consistently shows immense bipartisan support for Democrats ’ drug price negotiation legislation,” Henry Connelly, a spokesman

Most Americans know that the Democrats voted to hike taxes by $1.5 trillion over the 10 ten years and to spend so much more the deficit will increase to $367 billion on top of that.

Five reasons for concern about Democrats' drug price control plan © Getty Images Five reasons for concern about Democrats' drug price control plan

Less well-known is a "small" provision that will impose the price controls utilized by other nations onto American manufacturers that produce lifesaving drugs.

This proposal allows government bureaucrats to impose price controls on up to 20 medicines in Medicare Part B and Part D. If the manufacturer does not accept this government-mandated price, the drug manufacturers are hit with a 95 percent excise tax on the total revenues of the drug. The proposal also includes an inflationary rebate penalty on every medicine in Medicare Part B and Part D.

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The Medicare prescription drug pricing plan Democrats unveiled this week is not nearly as ambitious as many lawmakers sought, but they and drug policy experts say the provisions crack open the door to reforms that could have dramatic effects. The answers vary, and many details would still have to be worked out by government agencies if the legislation passes. House members warned some minor changes were still being made Thursday night, and it all has to pass both chambers. Controlling Insulin Costs. One of the most obvious benefits will go to those who need insulin, the lifesaving drug for

Democrats promised to slash drug prices . Now internal clashes are standing in the way. The internal fight over prescription drug prices has become a microcosm of the challenge the party faces on multiple fronts as Biden and congressional leaders seek to enact their massive domestic policy bill, known as the Build Back Better plan , with razor-thin majorities. Any one senator or any group of three House members can block provisions favored by the vast majority of their colleagues, and those dynamics are playing out on climate, tax policy, immigration and multiple other health-care debates.

In short, price controls are enforced by threats of confiscatory taxation.

While, at first, the tax is imposed only on a small group of medicines, it creates a new tax and regulatory structure that can be expanded to all cures and to the entire healthcare system and become a steppingstone toward socialized healthcare. In fact, Senate Democrats like Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) are already talking about expanding these policies into the commercial market.

Here are five reasons taxpayers should be concerned with this price control plan:

  1. Price controls will crush medical innovation. The coronavirus pandemic taught us that robust medical innovation is needed now more than ever. Manufacturers developed several highly effective COVID-19 vaccines at the fastest rate ever. Several weeks ago, Pfizer announced it had developed a pill that reduces the risk of hospitalization and death by 89 percent. This good news was only possible because the U.S. is the best in the world when it comes to developing innovative, lifesaving and life-preserving medicines. Imposing price controls and taxes will threaten this innovation.
  2. Price controls will result in arbitrary government prices on medicines. The federal government has no business dictating prices. There are many reasons the price of a product increases - whether that is through supply chain issues, labor shortages, or an increase in production cost. Or tax hikes by the government itself. While inflation is hitting American families hard, the cost of medicine is actually decreasing. Prescription drug costs have decreased by 0.7 percent on an annualized basis over the past 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By comparison, the consumer price index has increased by 6.2 percent over the same period.
  3. Price controls will upend the market-based structure of Medicare Part D. Price control supporters falsely claim the proposal is about allowing the government to "negotiate" better prices. However, this plan will actually undermine existing negotiation which occurs with the private sector in Medicare Part D. Under this system, plans are free to compete based on the goal of maximizing access and minimizing coverage costs. This market-based structure has helped save taxpayers billions of dollars and granted patients access to medicines at low costs. Federal spending on Part D has come in 45 percent below projections after the first decade and is just 14 percent of total Medicare spending. Average monthly premiums in 2021 are just $31.47 and have been stable since 2011. Part D spending also helps keep costs in the rest of Medicare down - it has decreased hospital admissions by 8 percent, resulting in $1.5 billion in annual savings.
  4. Price controls will cost high-paying American jobs. Medical innovation, directly and indirectly, supports over 4 million jobs across the U.S and in every state, according to research by TEconomy Partners, LLC. Many of these jobs will be threatened by these new taxes and price controls. This includes 800,000 direct jobs, 1.4 million indirect jobs, and 1.8 million induced jobs, which include retail and service jobs that are supported by spending from pharmaceutical workers and suppliers. The average annual wage of a pharmaceutical worker in 2017 was $126,587 more than double the average private-sector wage of $60,000.
  5. Price controls will move the U.S. a step closer to socialized healthcare. Progressives are pushing proposals to expand the power that government has over the healthcare system like "Medicare for All" and the public option. These proposals heavily rely on price controls on the healthcare system. Giving federal bureaucrats the ability to set prices in Medicare Part B and Part D would be a step down this dangerous path. Imposing price controls are a key tool in moving towards socialist healthcare because they allow the federal government to forcefully attempt to lower costs in a way that distorts the economically efficient behavior and natural incentives created by the free market. Sadly, if the left has its way, the government will control the entire healthcare system, an outcome that would also result in significant tax and spending increases and the loss of existing coverage for millions of Americans. Remember what socialism did to farming in Russia and Ukraine? The Democrat's plan to impose price controls and a 95 percent excise tax on medicines will push the U.S. down this path, threaten high-paying manufacturing jobs, and reduce access to new lifesaving cures.

Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform.

Biden looks to top predecessors in cutting prescription drug prices .
Joe Biden isn't the first president to tell supporters he'll lower the cost of prescription drugs, but at the White House on Monday, he vowed to succeed where his predecessors did not. © Provided by Washington Examiner Biden made his case for lowering costs during a Monday speech that followed a meeting with two women who suffer from diabetes and struggle to afford insulin. WHITE HOUSE BRISTLES AT THOUGHT OF SENDING COVID TESTS TO 'EVERY AMERICAN' "Healthcare should be a right, not a privilege, in this country," Biden said. "This is not a partisan issue.

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