Another day in Washington, another practical, bipartisan solution thrown out of the window and replaced with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s political games and partisanship.
The political sideshow of the day? It’s H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act—Pelosi’s inappropriately titled proposal to address the high cost of prescription drugs.
The issue of high drug costs can be solved, but unfortunately, this socialist proposal being shoved through the House of Representatives is not the way to do it. American families deserve a solution from Congress that gives them more choice, more competition, and more affordability.
H.R. 3, which should be named “The Fewer Cures and More Government Price Control Act,” is riddled with poison pills and fails on all fronts. The bill would impose international price standards on prescription drugs in the Medicare program, thereby removing the incentive for drugmakers to develop lifesaving medicines.
The U.S. leads the world in medical innovation and the production of lifesaving drugs, benefiting billions around the world. Currently, almost 60% of all drugs being developed are done so here in America.
For some inexplicable reason, the Democrats are willing to jeopardize all of that for a government-controlled approach to price negotiations and drug manufacturing.
Should this proposal become law, there is no question that research and development will decline, most notably for drugs that target diseases afflicting our elderly and low-income populations. We could see the loss of hundreds of future cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, pancreatic cancer, ALS, and many more.
While that is nearly impossible given the strong opposition and almost certain veto threat from President Donald Trump, it doesn’t change the fact that this is an unconscionable waste of time and political exercise on an issue that affects virtually every American.
Innovation not only benefits patients on a global scale, but provides for higher paying jobs, contributes to our strong economy, and allows for unprecedented access to lifesaving medicines. Pelosi’s plan could lead to the collapse of our current health care system and put the world’s sickest at even greater risk.
In reality, Pelosi knows her bill will result in a system that favors the wealthy’s access to the latest and best medicines. When you create a plan that makes certain drugs unprofitable and disincentivizes pharmaceutical companies from marketing choice medicines to Medicare and Medicaid patients, the outcome favors the wealthy.
Pelosi has chosen winners and losers. Unfortunately, the losers in this case will be those whose new cure for their debilitating disease is now unprofitable, thanks to Washington bureaucrats.
Given that this “solution” also would negatively impact patients who choose to use private health plans or purchase drugs out of pocket, my only guess is that this bill is the Democrats’ initial foray into a “Medicare-for-All” takeover.
Instead of focusing on streamlining the approval process of lifesaving drugs (studies show that it takes an average of 12 years for medicines to become publicly available), Pelosi is putting her energy into creating centrally planned price controls that will unsurprisingly hurt patients.
Finding cures for our most terminal and debilitating diseases is neither easy nor cheap, but manipulating markets and giving the government more power is a penny wise and pound foolish attempt to bring down drug costs.
I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to solve problems, but regrettably for the country, the story for Pelosi and her followers is quite the opposite. It’s clear they will do anything to not give Trump a win—even if the American people suffer in the meantime.