Drug Pricing Reform Measure Reintroduced in House

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • May 3, 2021
On April 22, the House Democratic leaders reintroduced H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. The legislation would allow the federal government to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs and cap seniors' out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs at $2,000 per year. The House passed the legislation in the last session of Congress in December 2019, but it did not advance in the Senate.

In 2019, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the price negotiation provisions in the bill would save the federal government about $456 billion over ten years. CBO also estimated that the legislation would lead to $42 billion in savings to the Medicare program due to better health outcomes for patients with increased access to drugs at lower prices.

House Republicans have also proposed a drug pricing measure (H.R. 19) as a counteroffer comprised of several more minor changes, including a $3,100 out-of-pocket cap on annual drug spending for seniors.

The White House has echoed support for drug pricing reform, but it is not expected to be included in President Biden's upcoming recovery legislation. Still, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has said that "lowering health costs and prescription drug prices will be a top priority for House Democrats to be included in the American Families Plan."

Impact on General Dentistry: AGD is monitoring all legislative efforts to address prescription drug prices to ensure that providers can effectively provide treatments to their patients.