WASHINGTON — The Democrats’ Build Back Better plan promises sweeping prescription drug reform, something Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley has unsuccessfully tried to accomplish in the Senate for years. Grassley, a Republican, was asked if that issue alone is enough for him to support the near-$2-trillion bill.
“Absolutely not,” Grassley says. “It’s going to hurt innovation — which my bill doesn’t — and it doesn’t have any of the reforms in that my bill had in to Medicare Part D.”
Backers of Build Back Better are hoping to pass the measure before Christmas. The White House says the plan would lower prescription drug costs by letting Medicare negotiate prices, but Grassley remains unconvinced.
Grassley says, “Taxpayers are going to continue to pay a great deal of the cost of what we call the catastrophic portions of Part D Medicare.”
One example backers of the legislation use is insulin. Under the Democrats’ plan, insulin prices for seniors would be capped at $35-a month — while some diabetics are now facing costs of up to $700 a month for the medication.
Grassley says his bill, the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act of 2020, would save taxpayers $95-billion, reduce out-of-pocket spending by 72-billion and cut premiums by one-billion.