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McConnell already bragging about killing bill that would make prescription drugs cheaper

Mitch McConnell said he won’t call up a House bill that will help make health care more affordable.

By Lisa Needham - September 20, 2019
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Sen. Mitch McConnell

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — aka the “Grim Reaper” — is at it again. This time, he’s bragging about how he’s going to kill a groundbreaking House bill that meaningfully combats the persistent problem of high prescription drug prices.

On Thursday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a sweeping new drug pricing plan that takes several concrete steps to decrease drug prices. The proposal would let Medicare negotiate prices and covers the costliest drugs, including insulin. Those prices would then be available to employer health plans as well. If drugmakers don’t negotiate, the bill inflicts penalties.

Moreover, the House bill incorporates provisions backed by some Republican senators, including Chuck Grassley (R-IA). It would require drugmakers to pay rebates to Medicare when their price increases outstrip inflation and limit out-of-pocket costs for seniors.

In theory, this should be a bill McConnell would bring to the floor once it passes the House because it already has bipartisan support. Instead, McConnell is already saying that he’ll follow the same path he has for the last several months: letting scores of bills die in the Senate.

McConnell declared in an interview Thursday that he wouldn’t take action on the House bill, calling it “socialist price controls” that would “do a lot of left-wing damage to the healthcare system.”

“Of course we’re not going to be calling up a bill like that,” McConnell said.

This neatly ignores the fact that Medicare is already a form of what the right decries as “socialism” in that it is health care for nearly all people over the age of 65 funded by taxpayers.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) echoed McConnell’s scaremongering about socialism, calling it a “huge government intervention in the drug marketplace, with a lot of price-setting.”

Both McConnell and Thune are overlooking the fact that Donald Trump didn’t just say he’d have the government fix high drug prices, he’s already insisted he has fixed them, and they’re decreasing.

The House is doing its job, but in a way, McConnell is, too. McConnell sees his role as simply killing bills, regardless of popular support, if they are about things Trump doesn’t like. It’s wholesale capture of the legislative branch by the executive, and it means nothing is going to get done.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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