CBO: Pelosi bill to lower drug prices saves Medicare $345 billion

A preliminary analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finds that the core provision of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi‘Off-script’ Trump rails against impeachment, Democrats at feisty rally Overnight Health Care — Presented by Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing — Planned Parenthood charges into 2020 | PhRMA CEO warns against Pelosi drug pricing bill | Medicaid work requirements costing states millions On The Money: Trump to meet China’s vice premier during trade talks | Appeals court says Deutsche Bank doesn’t have Trump’s tax returns | House Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey to retire MORE’s (D-Calif.) signature bill to lower drug prices would save Medicare $345 billion between 2023 and 2029.

Democrats quickly touted the projected savings to show that their bill would effectively lower drug prices. 

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House Democrats are steaming forward on the bill, and hope to bring it to a vote in the House as soon as the end of the month. The measure is one of their top priorities, and one they have touted as showing they are focused on kitchen table issues even as they pursue an impeachment inquiry against President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocratic 2020 hopefuls tout LGBTQ plans at town hall Trump defends Syria move at rally: ‘Bring our troops back home’ Pompeo adviser resigning: report MORE

The analysis is preliminary and does not take into account the entire bill, but it does analyze its main provision, which would allow the secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prices on up to 250 drugs per year, with savings applied to both Medicare and people on private insurance plans. 

Republicans countered by pointing to another part of the CBO’s analysis, which found that the measure would reduce research and development of new drugs. The CBO estimate that drug companies’ revenues would be reduced by between $500 billion and $1 trillion over 10 years, leading to eight to 15 fewer new drugs coming to market over the next 10 years, out of about 300 total new drugs over that period.

“In the short term, lower prices would increase use of drugs and improve people’s health,” the CBO wrote. “In the longer term, CBO estimates that the reduction in manufacturers’ revenues from title I would result in lower spending on research and development and thus reduce the introduction of new drugs.”

The resulting effect is not certain, the agency wrote. “The overall effect on the health of families in the United States that would stem from increased use of prescription drugs but decreased availability of new drugs is unclear,” the CBO wrote. 

The bill would also likely result in lower premiums for people with private insurance, the CBO wrote, though it said it is still working on a more complete analysis of the bill. 

“This initial analysis proves that H.R. 3 will effectively rein in the soaring cost of prescription drugs and level the playing field for American patients,” three House Democratic chairmen, Reps. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneTrump official declines to testify on trade protections for tech platforms Hillicon Valley: New York AG meets with feds over Facebook probe | Trump trade official asked to testify on protections for tech giants | PayPal drops out of Libra cryptocurrency project House panel asks Trump trade official to testify on legal protections for tech platforms MORE (N.J.), Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOn The Money: Judge tosses Trump lawsuit over NY tax return subpoena | US, Japan sign trade deals | Trump faces narrowing window for trade deals | NBA sparks anger with apology to China Tax-return whistleblower in spotlight amid impeachment fight Treasury IG agrees to probe handling of Trump tax returns request MORE (Mass.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottDemocrats divided on surprise medical bill fix NYC teacher suing DeVos over student loan forgiveness program House panel delays vote on surprise medical bills legislation MORE (Va.) said in a statement, referring to the bill’s formal title. “Not only will H.R. 3 save consumers money, it will also provide tremendous savings to American taxpayers.”

In addition, an analysis of the bill from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ actuary found that the bill would save American households $158 billion over 10 years through lower premiums and out of pocket spending on drugs, and that total U.S. spending on health care would decline by $480 billion under the bill.

Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyDemocratic chairman proposes new fix for surprise medical bills Nancy Pelosi is ready for this fight Impeachment push threatens to derail bipartisan efforts on health care costs MORE (Texas), the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee countered Friday: “CBO’s report confirms House Democrats’ ‘dictate or destroy’ price controls only serve to hurt the development of future cures and damage American innovation.”

Congressional Republicans have said they want to work with Democrats on much smaller drug pricing legislation, for example speeding the introduction of cheaper generic drugs. Rep. Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenTrump official declines to testify on trade protections for tech platforms House panel asks Trump trade official to testify on legal protections for tech platforms Overnight Energy: White House axes advisory boards for marine life, invasive species | Northeast states move to reduce transportation emissions | Judge allows Bears Ears lawsuit to proceed MORE (R-Ore.), the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said there are other bills “already agreed to by Republicans and Democrats” that could pass. Republicans have denounced Pelosi’s measure, in contrast, as “socialist.”

Pelosi is still hoping that if Trump, who has railed against high drug prices, endorses the bill, it would put pressure on congressional Republicans. Still, the measure faces dim hopes in the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAre Senate Republicans certain that Trump can return to office? PhRMA CEO warns Pelosi bill to lower drug prices would be ‘devastating’ for industry Supreme Court can prove its independence — or its partisan capture MORE (R-Ky.) has vowed to block it. 

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https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/465491-cbo-pelosi-bill-to-lower-drug-prices-saves-medicare-345-billion

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