For Whom Do Democrats Seek Lower Drug Costs?

by Newt Gingrich

Americans frustrated with high out-of-pocket costs for drugs may be tempted to support what was until recently a proposal only pushed by the most left-wing Democrats—having politicians and bureaucrats dictate the price and availability of drugs for Medicare beneficiaries. But note who would benefit under the Democrats’ plans. It isn’t patients.

Much has been written in these pages about why using Medicare to dictate the price of drugs is a terrible idea. It’s essentially a form of price control that would dry up private-sector investment in research and development of new drugs—and ultimately put bureaucrats in charge of whether seniors have coverage for, or even access to, medications their doctors believe are best for them.

Despite these dangers to seniors and other patients, Democrats are doubling down, probably because they think it’s good politics. Polls show broad support for the idea of government “negotiating” the price of drugs. But that appeal is based on a lie.

Americans are right to be angry about what they are paying for drugs. Out-of-pocket costs can vary wildly between pharmacies and change suddenly based on the behind-the-scenes negotiations between pharmacy-benefit managers and drugmakers. Additionally, seniors face the complexity of the Medicare drug coverage “donut hole,” in which their out-of-pocket costs can increase even further.

Read more in the Wall Street Journal

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