While President Biden has generally sought to eliminate as much of the Trump legacy as possible, he has returned to one priority which was pursued with some success by the Trump Administration. Lowering drug prices has been a bipartisan concern and Biden has now belatedly announced plans to address the issue. Effective legislation relating to prescription drug prices in the United States has the potential to impact much of the country.
Biden revives Trump effort
Americans spend far more per-capita on prescription medications than most other developed countries and rising drug prices have been noticeable for many.
According to a recent study, prescription drugs in the United States are 256% more expensive as they are in countries like Canada, France, and the United Kingdom.
Pharmaceutical companies in the United States are accused of raising prices beyond the rate of inflations, something which has been prevented in other countries.
President Trump attempted to address this issue in 2020 with an executive order which aimed to prevent Medicare from paying more for drugs in the United States than is paid in other developed countries.
The move came late in his term and Trump had a very limited amount of time in which to follow through on his efforts to force pharmaceutical companies to lower prices.
Biden is aware that the sentiment is a popular one and the White House claims that it has crafted a plan to address the issue in the near future.
More negotiating power for Medicare
In addition to penalizing manufacturers who raise prices beyond what could reasonably be attributed to inflation, the Biden plan claims to have two more important components.
As part of a broader expansion of Medicare, the plan would allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices as it negotiates prices for other things.
Biden also proposes a cap on what Medicare recipients are required to spend on drugs, this would be set at something around $3,000 a year.
While Biden emphasized that these changes would lower drug prices for everyone, there is a clear hope that the move will appeal to seniors, a demographic which is heavily affected by this issue.
Pharmaceutical companies have criticized this plan, as they criticized the executive order enacted last year by President Trump.
Regardless, Biden clearly expects this plan to win votes by appealing to Americans who have seen the prices they pay for prescription drugs steadily increase.