WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) — President Joe Biden touted provisions in his Build Back Better Act that will lower the cost of prescription drugs as the key legislation continues to stall in the United States Senate.
The Build Back Better Act would impose a tax penalty on drug companies that raise medication prices and allow the government to negotiate Medicare drug prices and lower insulin prices for all Americans.
“Even if you think this doesn’t affect you, it does,” Biden said Monday at the White House. “Everyone has less money in their pockets because high drug costs make health insurance more expensive for everyone. There aren’t a lot of things that almost every American degree agree — can agree on. But I think it’s safe to say that all of us, all of us, whatever our background, our age, where we live, we can agree that prescription drugs are outrageously expensive in this country.”
The cost of insulin has increased by 15% for the past decade and the current cost of one month’s supply of insulin is around $375.
“These price increases are about companies looking to maximize profits, and nobody standing up for the patients. Nobody with the power to do something about it. It is enough. Enough. Nobody has held the manufacturers accountable until now,” he said.
Prior to his remarks, the President met with two women who suffer from diabetes and have struggled to pay for insulin.
“I’ve long said health care should be a right not a privilege in this country. And the women I’ve met with today and millions like them are the reason why,” Biden said. “People for whom the cost of one drug is the difference between hope and fear, life and death, and dignity and dependence.”
“Imagine if you’re a parent one of the roughly 200,000 young people in this country that suffer from Type 1 diabetes,” Biden continued. “Imagine if you can’t afford their insulin. It is not only a risk to your child’s life, it deprives of you your dignity.”
The Bill Back Better Act, if passed, would allow the Health and Human Services secretary to negotiate the prices of Medicare drugs to take effect in 2025 and up to 20 medications starting in 2028.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday he hopes to have the bill passed by Christmas but two moderate Democrats are still not on board, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, are not yet on board despite Democrats holding a slim Senate majority.
After his remarks, Biden was asked if he is confident the bill can pass by Christmas.
“As early as we can get it,” he said. “I want to get it done no matter how long it takes.”