U.S. House Passes Drug Pricing Bill

Dec. 13, 2019 -- A U.S. House Democrat bill that would give Medicare the authority to negotiate prescription drug prices and provide new benefits for seniors was passed Thursday in a 230-192 vote along party lines.

However, the bill has no chance of being passed by the Republican-controlled Senate and the White House has threatened to veto it, the Associated Press reported.

The AARP is among the groups that support the bill, while the pharmaceutical industry strongly opposes it.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's bill would limit Medicare patients' out-of-pocket costs for medicines to $2,000 a year and create coverage for dental care, hearing and vision by using the $360 billion of expected 10-year savings from lower drug costs, the AP reported.

The bill "is a serious proposal but everyone knows that the Senate isn't going to go for it," according to John Rother, CEO of the National Coalition on Health, a group that represents health care industry groups and consumers.

"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," Rother told the AP.

Pelosi said her bill would deliver on Donald Trump's promise during the 2016 presidential campaign to "negotiate like crazy" to lower prescription drug prices for Medicare recipients.

As president, Trump has backed away from the promise, the AP reported.

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