Senate Republicans on Friday introduced a bill that would roll back the drug pricing reforms included in the sweeping Inflation Reduction Act, including the measures allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices and capping annual drug expenses for many seniors.
Republican Sens. James Lankford (Okla.), Mike Lee (Utah), Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) introduced the “Protecting Drug Innovation Act” on Friday, saying they wanted to pull back government authority over the prices of drugs covered by Medicare.
The Inflation Reduction Act was passed and signed into law in August with no Republicans voting for it.
The bill allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices for the first time in the program’s history. It also placed a $2,000 out-of-pocket cap on annual drug costs for seniors on Medicare, as well as a $35 monthly cop for insulin.
“Prescription drug prices are too high for many critical drugs, which demonstrates the need for more competition and more options for consumers,” Lankford, who sits on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, the Democrats’ new government drug price control in their so-called ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ creates even more barriers to effectively bringing down the cost of prescriptions, particularly for senior adults on Medicare,” added Lankford.
In his own statement, Lee argued that “price controls never work.”
“Instead, they exacerbate the problems they seek to resolve. Mandating fixed prescription drug prices will ultimately result in the shortening of American lives,” the Utah senator said.
If passed, the bill states it would make it so that the drug pricing measures in the Inflation Reduction Act “had never been enacted.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre lambasted the bill on Twitter, saying it puts “special interests before working families.”
“Their new bill is a giveaway to Big Pharma at the expense of seniors by ending Medicare’s new ability to negotiate lower drug prices,” Jean-Pierre said. “Their vision for the country is extreme and out of touch with working families across the country.”
Democrats, who have been campaigning off of the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, have continually warned that Republicans will seek to repeal the sweeping cost-reduction package if they take back control of Congress.
President Biden echoed these warnings earlier on Friday.
“They’re saying they’re going to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act if they gain control of Congress. Let’s be crystal clear what that means. If Republicans take control over Congress, it means the power we just gave Medicare to negotiate drug prices goes away. Gone. Prices go back up,” Biden said.