Senate Republicans are warning Speaker Nancy Pelosi that her much-anticipated drug pricing plan is dead and will not be considered in the Senate.
In an interview, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) ruled out any action on the bill, which would call for Medicare to negotiate drug prices for a minimum of 25 medicines and target drugs that cost the American health system the most. Pelosi rolled out the plan on Thursday to intense opposition from the drug industry, and McConnell.
“Socialist price controls will do a lot of left-wing damage to the healthcare system. And of course we’re not going to be calling up a bill like that,” McConnell said on Thursday afternoon.
Senate committees have passed their own drug pricing legislation, though it does not unite the GOP. Many Republicans are slow to endorse wading into regulating the pharmaceutical industry, which has deep pockets and deep political connections in Washington.
McConnell said the Senate’s path forward is still “under discussion.” The GOP leader added that the Senate is still “looking at doing something on drug pricing,” which has been a key priority of President Donald Trump.
The Senate package contains some elements of Pelosi’s plan to bring down drug prices by capping expenses for seniors with Medicare prescription drug coverage and restraining drug increases. But is does not contain negotiating provisions Pelosi is seeking. Many Republicans don’t like that bill to begin with, but they dislike Pelosi’s plan even more.
“It’s a huge government intervention in the drug marketplace, with a lot of price-setting. And the government basically pretty much taking over a private industry,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), McConnell’s chief deputy. “It’s really bad policy and I think it’s dead on arrival over here.”
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine