House Democrats have drafted a bill that says the secretary of Health and Human Services “shall negotiate” drug prices directly with manufacturers for members of Medicare Part D prescription plans.
The bill, H.R. 4, does not authorize the HHS secretary to “establish or require a particular formulary.”
But H.R. 4 would require the HHS secretary to report to Congress every 6 months on the effects of negotiations on Medicare Part D drug prices, according to a copy of the bill.
Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is the chief sponsor of the bill.
H.R. 4 could come up for a vote Jan. 12, according to a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
In the Senate, the Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a Jan. 11 hearing on the prescription drug pricing issue.
Advocates of H.R. 4 will need 60 votes in the Senate, including a number of votes from Republican, to avoid a filibuster and get a drug pricing bill to the floor, Ira Loss, an analyst at Washington Analysis, Washington, writes in a comment on the bill.
“There is a reasonable doubt that there are 60 votes in the Senate to force through a legislative mandate,” Loss writes.