On Thursday, House Democrats passed a bill that would help reduce prescription drug prices and provide new benefits for older people.
The bill would empower Medicare to negotiate high drug costs and establish coverage for dental care, vision, hearing and other services to older people.
However, the bill has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate. The White House has issued a threat of a veto. Yet, House Democrats were optimistic after sensing a victory in the message they sent to voters through their bill.
Pelosi said, “I think that it is going to be too hot to handle for the Republicans.”
The speaker has claimed bragging rights because she believes her bill would deliver the promise that President Trump made as a presidential candidate in 2016. At that time, he said he would “negotiate like crazy” to reduce prescription drug prices for Medicare recipients.
Pelosi said it is a promise that Mr. Trump has backed away after becoming the president.
Pelosi’s office and the White House officials had been talking privately about Medicare negotiations. However, the administration officials said that Pelosi’s approach could never win support from congressional Republicans.
“Negotiations are the heart of the matter,” said Pelosi.
High drug prices have affected millions of Americans. In fact, many people find it too expensive to afford the drugs, with many skipping the treatment or going for generics. Skyrocketing drug prices have been one of the top public health concerns.
In a recent survey, the United States ranked #1 in the global median price list, making it the world’s most expensive nation to buy prescription drugs.
CEO of the National Coalition on Health John Rother said, “Pelosi’s bill is a serious proposal but everyone knows that the Senate isn’t going to go for it.”
“It is about legislating, but even more it’s about establishing a platform that Democrats can run on going into the next election cycle and lays the groundwork for legislative activity in 2021,” he added. The pharmaceutical industry was strongly against the proposed bill.