COMPREHENSIVE DRUG BILL STALLS WHILE HOUSE PUSHES SMALLER MEASURES
House Democrats are planning to take up more narrow bills addressing prescription drug costs while their broad legislation is delayed as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) works on estimating its budgetary impacts.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the Democrats’ bill now won’t receive a floor vote until December – with some House staff fretting the vote could slip to January as leaders wait for CBO forecasts ahead of tough negotiations with moderate and liberal lawmakers.
CBO last month estimated the bill would save Medicare $345 billion over seven years by forcing manufacturers to negotiate prices with the government on 250 drugs and to apply those discounts to private health plans nationwide. Democrats want to redirect those savings to expand Medicare coverage for dental, vision and hearing services, leading to a delay as CBO figures out how much that would cost.