Believe it or not, but last week’s House Judiciary Committee hearing votes to move along the two articles of impeachment to the floor of the House for a full vote were not the only votes of importance that occurred while everyone had impeachment on their mind.
On Thursday, the Lower Costs Now Act of 2019 passed the House of Representatives along party lines by a vote margin of 230-192.
The Democratic-only sponsored bill requires that prescription drug prices for Medicare and Medicaid be renegotiated, specifically the maximum prices of certain drugs.
According to the bill, Medicaid and Medicare handlers must negotiate the “maximum prices for (1) insulin products; and (2) at least 25 single source, brand-name drugs that do not have generic competition and that are among the 125 drugs that account for the greatest national spending or the 125 drugs that account for the greatest spending under the Medicare prescription drug benefit and Medicare Advantage (MA).”
Both Republican and Democratic members of Congress have been advocating for lower drug prices, but this bill obviously did not receive the bipartisan support that the cosponsors (106 Democrats) hoped for.
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D), a freshman congresswoman from Miami who voted in the Judiciary to impeach President Trump, took time out from the impeachment inquiry hearing to announce a duel message about the passage of the drug bill, and mention the impeachment proceedings.
“Today’s vote for the Lower Drug Prices Now Act was for the South Floridians who have told me time & time again: prescription drug costs are too high. We are fighting for our democracy & passing legislation to better the lives of our constituents at the same time.”
Rep. Mucarsel-Powell has already co-sponsored Terminating the Extension of Rights Misappropriated (TERM) Act of 2019 in the House, which also addresses the rising costs of prescription drugs, but focuses on tackling the process of “evergreening” drug companies practice.
The bill will now go over to the Senate where it is expected to meet resistance, considering that the Republican-led Senate will first consider other bills, including Senator Rick Scott’s Transparency Drug Pricing Act, which would require drug makers to list all patient costs for prescription drugs.