The government is currently prohibited by law from negotiating drug prices for Medicare. Medicare Part D is a federal government program which subsidizes the costs of prescriptions drugs for people enrolled in Medicare. Since it was approved by Congress in 2003 39 million Americans have enrolled in the program which now costs more than $80 billion per year. Opponents of Medicare Part D argue that it should be changed to allow the federal government to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies. They point out that the Veterans Affairs administration is allowed to negotiate prices and pays 40-58% less for drugs than Medicare does. Analysts estimate that the government would save up to $16 billion a year if they were permitted to negotiate drug prices. Proponents of Medicare D argue that the government should not interfere with prices set by private drug makers who use profits for the development and research of new drugs.
It's a tricky issue, if the government acts as insurance companies do...well they can certainly throw more weight around and have more power than any insurance company, which may in a way force companies into lowering their prices.
Again, these drug prices should never be so high in price that it is unaffordable. If the government wants to step in to help keep these prices from skyrocketing, then by all means. But not unless they want to help keep it affordable for low income persons.
The historical activity of users engaging with this question.
Loading the political themes of users that engaged with this discussion