By nearly straight party line vote of 230-192, the legislation goes nowhere in Senate
H.R. 3 is officially titled the “Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act”, but better known as “Speaker Pelosi’s Prescription Drug Price Bill”, the cornerstone of the legislation is the “negotiation” of prescription drug prices for Medicare by the government and the pharmaceutical industry.
With two Republicans supporting, look for the Democrats, including Congressman Sean Casten and Congresswoman Lauren Underwood to call this “bipartisan passage”.
It’s still dead on arrival in the Senate, though if the Senate passes S.2543, hopefully a Conference Committee can strip the legislation of the price controls euphemistically called “negotiation”.
On Wednesday on the House floor, Congressman Sean Casten spoke in favor of H.R. 3, citing an Algonquin resident’s challenges with prescription drugs.
Within a half hour of giving this brief speech on the House floor, Casten held his first (and maybe his last) Facebook town hall with Q&A. His staff took the Facebook video and posted both parts on Twitter, which are below:
Something Casten said at the start of the Part 1 needs discernment:
“Medicare, since the George W. Bush administration, has been banned from negotiating with…with the pharmaceutical providers.”Sean Casten, Part 1 Twitter video ~50 second mark
Everyone needs to be very clear, the prescription drug coverage by Medicare, known as “Part D”, was implemented during President Bush’s administration over a decade and a half ago.
Put another way, prior to President Bush, any prescription coverage was restricted through Part B, and that primarily through hospitalization.
And Part D coverage was meant to be implemented through private insurance companies to combine Medicare funding with private insurance access to medications.
But here’s Part 2 of Casten’s town hall:
As stated above, this bill will die in the Senate since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared it for what it is, “socialist”. And in spite of two Republicans, Brian Fitzpatrick (PA) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA) voting for it, it is still partisan legislation.
As stated above, it is hoped the Senate legislation, S. 2543, will pass the Senate and force a conference committee for House and Senate conferees to work out the differences that Republicans and the President support, and that means dropping the government negotiating prices with pharmaceutical companies.
- Casten Statement on Passage: https://casten.house.gov/media/press-releases/casten-votes-lower-cost-prescription-drugs
- Underwood Statement on Passage: https://underwood.house.gov/media/press-releases/underwood-backed-legislation-reduce-prescription-drug-costs-illinois-families