November 4, 2021

For starters, the price of insulin would be capped at $35 a month, CNN reports. Also, seniors and people with disabilities would have their out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs capped at $2,000 a year. And drug companies that raise prices faster than inflation would be hit with a tax penalty.

Then, beginning in 2023, Medicare can start negotiating drug prices for up to 10 drugs, rising to 20 in 2028. The deal does not go as far as progressives wanted. From The New York Times:

Starting in 2023, negotiations could begin on what Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon called the most expensive drugs — treatments for cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as anticoagulants. Most drugs would still be granted patent exclusivity for nine years before negotiations could start, and more complex drugs, called biologics, would be protected for 12 years.

But it’s still a huge step forward. As The Times notes, progressive Sen. Chris Murphy likes it:

“I don’t think this is simply a camel’s nose under the tent,” said Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut and one of the negotiators. “I think we’ve gotten the head and part of the body in there, too.”

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