In April 2021, House committee leaders reintroduced their signature drug pricing proposals, setting up another partisan showdown on how best to lower the cost of Americans’ prescriptions. House Democrats, led by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA), and Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) reintroduced H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. First introduced in 2019, the bill includes the following key provisions:
The same week Democrats filed H.R. 3 staking out their position on drug pricing issues, Republicans also reintroduced H.R. 19, the Lower Costs, More Cures Act. Sponsored by Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX), and Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC), this legislation includes the following provisions:
On June 22, the U.S. Senate laid down diverging markers on drug pricing. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) first unveiled a set of principles to guide drug pricing reform. The principles highlight Democratic priorities, but lack detail, demonstrating the challenge of finding consensus on the issue. The five principles include:
On the same day, Republican Ranking Members Mike Crapo (R-ID) of the Finance Committee and Richard Burr (R-NC) of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee reintroduced the Lower Costs, More Cures Act in the Senate (S. 2164). Similar to the House Republican bill, H.R. 19, the Senate legislation would create a tiered system for Part B drug reimbursement, create a maximum add-on payment of up to $1,000 for most drugs and biologics ($2,000 for biologics), implement site neutral payments for Part B drug administration, and redesign the Medicare Part D benefit, among other provisions.