While a lot of attention has fallen on two Democratic U.S. senators who have refused to endorse the president and their colleagues’ plans for a historic spending bill on child care, the child tax credits, home care, clean energy, and other “human infrastructure,” U.S. Rep. Scott Peters has been holding out similarly in the House of Representatives. He has concerns about one part of the legislation that would tax drug makers heavily if they don’t make better deals when they sell prescription medicines to the U.S. government through Medicare.
Scott Lewis wrote about the incredibly tense position Peters has found himself in.
Tuesday, though, Peters had news: He announced he had helped broker a deal between the hesitant senators, Democratic leadership and the president that would allow the government to negotiate some drug prices. In the deal, only the price of drugs outside their exclusive periods — the time when their patents prevent other companies from copying them — could be negotiated.
For those drugs that the government can negotiate the prices of, the harsh tax Peters feared can only come to play if the drug companies do not negotiate in “good faith.”
The president announced the compromise had made it into his plan for the spending bill — the biggest of its kind since the New Deal.
Related: It is unclear if the president can pull Democrats together to pass the bill and when, or if, they will all pass the large bipartisan infrastructure spending bill that is caught up in the negotiations as well. San Diego Rep. Sara Jacobs has been part of the progressive caucus uncomfortably watching the bill get whittled down as priorities like paid family leave were dropped. She was on MSNBC Tuesday and she said she and her allies trust the president when he says he can get 51 senators to vote for it.
As for drug prices?
“I’m in favor of what was originally in the House bill and HR 3,” she said.
HR 3 was the original bill Peters objected to. It would have allowed Medicare to negotiate all drug prices and imposed an up to 95 percent tax on drug sales if the company refused to sell the drug to the government for less than 120 percent of an index of what other countries pay for it.